Peanut Butter Popcorn Snack GIVEAWAY! {giveaway closed}

You all know I have a deep love for peanut butter, right? Peanut butter bananas, peanut butter toast, peanut chicken, peanut butter off a spoon, on a date, the list goes on. I love the stuff.

A couple of weeks ago, the kind folks at Smart Balance asked me if I’d like to sample a new product of theirs; one they were sure I would enjoy. One that involves peanut butter. I was totally game.

The product is: Smart Balance Peanut Butter Popcorn Nuggets

smart balance peanut butter popcorn nuggets

Popcorn rolled in peanut butter, crunchy peanuts, and oats. For real. The second this beautiful bag arrived at my door I tore into it.

smart balance peanut butter popcorn nuggets

Ahhhhhhhh….

smart balance peanut butter popcorn nuggets smart balance peanut butter popcorn nuggets

My face lit up upon first bite. These little babies are spectacular! They’re crunchy, they’re sweet, and they have the perfect amount of peanut butter hugging each popcorn kernel. Holy cow.

smart balance peanut butter popcorn nuggets

 

These are dangerously good!

I learned quickly that portion control is a must as I kept going back for more and more nibbles out of the bag. Enter: the ramekin. I began to pour the perfect snacks into a small ramekin to keep my portions within reason. My waist line thanks me.

They are the perfect anytime snack! I have been enjoying them especially as my dessert after dinner.

These nuggets can be found at Costco stores around the U.S. but guess what?! You don’t have to go to Costco if you win a bag from me here! Well, you will probably want to go to Costco anyway and pick these up in the meantime while I select a winner. You won’t regret it.

Store locator: Where you can fin Smart Balance Popcorn Nuggets

But seriously, want to win a bag for yourself?! ENTER HERE!

To enter to win one bag of Smart Balance Peanut Butter Nuggets, simply leave a comment on my blog telling me your favorite snack. Receive an additional entry by tweeting “I entered to win @SmartBalance Peanut Butter Nuggets from @NuttyMelanie http://wp.me/p2J5VV-2BQ.” Just make sure you leave an extra comment telling me you tweeted.

Thanks and good luck! Giveaway ends on Sunday, February 2nd at midnight central time. One winner will be announced Monday, February 3rd!

Mmmmm snack time!

Disclaimer: Smart Balance provided me with one free bag of Smart Balance Peanut Butter Nuggets to sample and review. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions expressed on the product are solely my own.

Pure Happiness

Happy happy hump day!

Since I decided to post about my new adorable Ellie workout gear yesterday, I failed to update you on my nummy day of eats from Monday. Since I had a major lack of food photos yesterday (zip-zero), I am going to catch you up to speed from Monday.

Breakfast

Breakfast was a piece of toasted almond bread with organic natural peanut butter and raw honey, served with a cup of coffee with my new favorite cream!

This picture makes me so happy. Photographed is one of my favorite foods: peanut butter, my favorite morning drink that comforts my soul: coffee, and gorgeous yellow roses that my mom gave to me: love and friendship. Pure happiness.

pb toast and coffee

Lunch

A bed of mixed spring greens topped with deviled eggs, red bell pepper, celery, olives, peas, avocado, sunflower seeds and Annie’s Green Goddess dressing. Way good!

salad

 

I ate it outside in the sunshine which probably made it taste even better!

Dessert

Driscoll’s beautiful organic raspberries. Nature’s candy.

 

raspberries

 

There was definitely more snacking that happened in the afternoon. There are no pictures of it but I am guessing I had some mixed nuts, some carrots, and maybe an apple. :smile:

Dinner

For dinner I roasted up brussels sprouts and broccoli with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. To go on top of the veggies I made a marinara sauce using Ragu No-Sugar-Added spaghetti sauce, with one Italian turkey sausage, and sautéed onions, mushrooms, and garlic. I sprinkled in some dried basil and oregano too!

roasted veggies with marinara roasted veggies with marinara

To plate it up I started with a layer of veggies, next I grated some fresh parmesan cheese, and then finished it with a huge serving of the sauce which in my opinion is the best part!

roasted veggies with marinara roasted veggies with marinara

 

I wasn’t loving the brussels sprouts that night. I had bought them fresh and then froze them, and feel they take on a bit of a different flavor once I use them out of the freezer. Anyone else experience this? Anyway, I still enjoyed the dish and ate all but three bites.

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Alright, it’s time for me to go pack up my lunch and think about what I want for breakfast! I am so food-minded; always prepared for moments when I may need to eat. :smile: The hardest part is not knowing what I will be in the mood for come lunch time. I usually pack myself a couple of options so that I can pick and chose what sounds good.

I am super excited that thunderstorms are possibly going to happen this afternoon. I LOVE a good thunderstorm, as long as no one gets hurt and no damage is done of course. They remind me of being young and hanging out with my family in our safe home. As the thunderstorm approached we would watch the news and make sure we didn’t have to go to the basement. Then, as it whooshed over us I would watch safely out the window as the lightning struck and the thunder rolled (Garth Brooks anyone?) and it would make me so thrilled! I still feel that way when a thunderstorm rolls around! My mom also loves watching storms; she must have passed that gene down to me. :wink:

Watch, we won’t even get one now that I got all hyped up about it.

Do you enjoy thunderstorms?

Have a great day my friends!

 

Cabbage: An Underrated Vegetable?

(*Sigh*) Hmmm….

turks and caicos stand up paddle board

Oh sorry I was dreaming of paradise. Back to reality…

snow april

That’s all I will say about that.

After completing my Insanity workout yesterday I replenished myself with a big cold smoothie.

smoothie

In the mix:

Whew! That’s a lot of nutrients jam-packed into one smoothie.

I literally couldn’t keep my hands out of the fridge yesterday; my appetite was insane! I couldn’t even tell you everything I snacked on in between breakfast and lunch. By the time “lunch” actually rolled around I made myself a piece of toasted almond bread with peanut butter and a drizzle of honey.

pb almond bread pb almond bread

And more snacks happened after that.

Dinner

The crock pot came out last night. I wanted to use up a head of red cabbage I had in the fridge so I decided to make a crock pot version of my cabbage roll casserole. I used most of the same ingredients this time as I did before, but I also added zucchini and mushrooms this time around.

I added everything into the crock pot except for the mushrooms, gave it a stir, set it on low and let it go. I added the mushrooms in at the last 45 minutes of cook time.

crockpot casserole cabbage

It cooked for about 6-7 hours. I ladled a serving into my bowl and topped it with olives (do I seriously add olives to everything? It’s becoming apparent that I do). Sorry Kal–you can omit the olives. :smile:

cabbage casserole crockpot

This was a very nice way to spend my Thursday evening; eating a warm bowl of veggies and relaxing in my warm home.

Does anyone else think cabbage is a bit underrated? I understand the effects it can have on the digestive process but other than that, it’s some good stuff!

I am taking the day off from exercise today and letting my body rest. I am hoping to get a run in tomorrow, but based on the amount of snow we have, it may have to be a treadmill run. Booo…

Have a great day my friends!

I feel like cabbage is fairly underrated. Do you have any good cabbage recipes?

I really love Oriental Cabbage Salad with Ramen Noodles. Whenever it is at a get-together, I have to snag a bite!

**My thoughts and prayers continue to be with everyone impacted by the Boston tragedies and continuing trauma. My heart breaks. Stay safe and stay strong.**

Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes

Hi my friends! I really don’t mean to rub it in, but I am currently on a white sandy beach enjoying the warm sun SOOOO…..I have a guest post for you to enjoy and it’s sure to leave you wanting a cupcake. Thanks to Becky for a delicious guest post! NUM!

I’m hoping to check in with you at some point soon! I hope everyone is well. xoxo. Melanie

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Hi! I’m Becky from over at Olives ‘n’ Wine - a blog where I share my passion for keeping a balanced life through eating well, tasting great wine, staying active, and traveling to new places – and I’m excited to be doing a guest post for Melanie today :smile:

Becky in Cali

Back in December, Melanie hosted a giveaway of Parkers Farm peanut butter and I was selected as the winner! It is a good thing that Kyle (my husband) and I looooove peanut butter! We’ve been consuming our fair share of peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter toast, grilled peanut butter sandwiches and peanut butter with bananas and apples – YUM! Mitchell (our black lab) has also benefited from Melanie’s giveaway. He’s been spoiled with extra peanut butter Kong treats and he loves licking the empty Parkers Farm peanut butter containers :)

As you can imagine, I have been busy finding ways to use an entire case of peanut butter the past few months and I’m excited to share one of my favorite peanut butter recipes with you today!

Chocolate-Truffle Cupcakes 5

Today, my friends, I present you with: Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting! This recipe is, to say the least, delectably perfect.

Chocolate-Truffle Cupcakes 1

Creamy, rich and chocolate-y cupcakes topped with a salty yet sweet peanut butter frosting. The combination is as delightful as it sounds.

Chocolate-Truffle Cupcakes 3

Chocolate cupcake dough stuffed with a chocolate truffle and baked until perfectly gooey. Then coated with a luscious peanut butter frosting and a dusting of peanuts and chocolate chips.

Chocolate-Truffle Cupcakes 4

Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting (Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart)

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

- Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup flour, plus 1/4 cup extra for truffles
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 12 chocolate truffles (I used Lindt Dark Chocolate)

- Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 TBSP milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips and/or peanuts, optional toppings

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with liners. Combine cocoa, 3/4 cup flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, individually, beating well after each addition, then mix in vanilla. On low speed, mix in flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream. Pour batter into cups, filling approximately 3/4 full. Next, roll truffles in 1/4 cup extra flour (this keeps the truffles from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake) and push one flour-coated truffled halfway into each cupcake. Bake approximately 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

While cupcakes are baking/cooling, prepare the peanut butter frosting. Beat together butter and peanut butter until smooth, slowly add in powdered sugar and milk until creamy. Once cupcakes are fully cooled, spread frosting onto cupcakes and top with chocolate chips and/or peanuts. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Truffle Cupcakes

Yes, this really happened in my kitchen and it was A-MAZ-ING! And, in case you’re like me and hate extra candy and treats around the house, this recipe is a fabulous way to use up some of those leftover, tempting Valentine’s Day truffles. :wink:

Chocolate-Truffle Cupcakes 2

Other peanut butter recipes that I love include:

SWAT Treats

Reese’s Peanut Butter Bark

Homemade Chocolate + Peanut Butter Granola

Salted Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies

A HUGE thanks to Melanie for allowing me to post on her blog today. :smile: I hope you’ll stop by Olives ‘n’ Wine and see what I’m all about!

A Typical Day of Meals & Snacks From My Childhood

Happy Thursday to you all. I hope everyone is having a good week. I’m still fighting to feel well today. I got nearly 9 hours of sleep last night so that will hopefully help me heal faster. Sleep is so powerful.

Yesterday I went into work, fought through the morning but then felt so miserable that I ended up going home in the afternoon. I planted myself on the couch and that is where I stayed all afternoon and evening minus getting up to get food and drink.

I hesitate to even share my eats yesterday because they are not the most appealing or exciting, but I’ll do it anyway.

Breakfast was an old favorite of Parkers Farm peanut butter, banana, cinnamon, and a light drizzle of honey.

Lunch was seasoned bone broth with chicken and carrots, applesauce, and raw carrots.

bone broth

Snacks: Cashews, raisins, and almonds…

nuts and fruit

And dates with peanut butter which is my latest obsession…

dates and pb

I spent the afternoon trying to nap which was turned out to be an unsuccessful attempt  (why is it so hard for me to nap?!), watching Food Network, reading, and catching up on blogs. Pretty much I sat on my rear all afternoon and rested.

When dinner rolled around I was very hungry, but had no clue what I wanted. Eventually, with the help of Dana, he made up a plate of roasted broccoli with parmesan with a piece of cooked turkey deli meat with an egg on top. It was very random but it ended up being a nummy combo.

roasted broccoli with turkey and egg

I spent the rest of the evening watching an episode of Glee that I had recorded, Whitney, and Modern Family. I love those shows oh so much.

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Switching gears now…

After reading a post from the blog A Dash of Meg, who wrote a post about what a typical day of meals and snacks looked like for her growing up, I thought it would be fun to walk down memory lane as well. Shall we?

A Typical Day of Meals & Snacks From My Childhood

Breakfast

In the morning I would stumble down to the kitchen and pour myself a bowl of cereal with  milk or make a warm bowl of Cream of Wheat. Mom always had the cupboard stocked full of good cereals, but some of my favorites were Cinnamon Life and Honey Nut Cheerios. Num! Many times I would sit next to my mom while she read the paper and crunch away at my bowl.

honey nut cheerios

A bowl of cereal now with no additional protein on the side (besides the small amount of milk on the cereal) definitely wouldn’t tide me over very long any more these days, but cereal does make a great snack or you could pair a bowl of cereal and banana slices with a protein rich egg on the side and call it a more well-rounded meal.

I don’t recall snacking very often between breakfast and lunch, so when lunch time rolled around, I was always very hungry. Sometimes I would buy a juice from the soda machine, but not too often.

Lunch

Most of the time I preferred to bring a bagged lunch aside from those random days when I chose to have the taco salad bar or italian dunkers. It’s funny how I always seemed to have a tummy ache after eating the white bread and cheese loaded italian dunkers. I have learned so much about my body and health since then!

Mom made my lunch for the longest time which I am so thankful for, and my usual comfy tummy lunch was peanut butter and jelly on whole grain bread, baby carrots, an apple or a banana, and then usually one little treat like a cookie or fruit snacks or pudding.

pb j

Snacks

After school I was always ready for a snack. Often I would go over to my aunt’s house (Betsy’s mom and dad) and hang out there for a while. Betsy and I would practice our dance steps, and then we would have a snack. My favorite afternoon snacks at her house were freshly popped popcorn and graham crackers with peanut butter and mini chocolate chips!

superbowl parmesan popcorn

graham crackers

At home, my favorite snacks were probably another mini bowl of cereal or pretzels. I was quite the carb loader back then. :smile:

Dinner

Later in the evening I would either go to dance and then come home and eat dinner, or eat dinner and then go to dance. As I got older I had more and more classes. Mom did a great job of having dinner ready for all of us, even though we were all going out the door here and there to practices, classes, study groups, etc. If someone wasn’t home for dinner, mom or dad would always plate up a serving and put it in the fridge for when they got home.

Some of my favorites were taco night, spaghetti, fajitas, and lasagna.

8006_ground_beef_soft_tacos

spaghetti with meatballs

But truly, I loved everything my mom made. I was never a picky eater and still am not to this day!

In the evening on special occasions, mom would whip us up a batch of orange julius which I believe was made with orange juice concentrate, milk, vanilla, and ice. I’m pretty sure that was it but don’t quote me on that.

orange julius

It was such a tasty treat and I always got so excited about them. I may need to try to recreate that bad boy.

So, there you have it! I was definitely a carb queen. I needed a lot of energy and brain fuel to get me through the activities of the day, and still do of course, I just get it in different forms now.

I remember many “tummy aches” growing up. I wonder if they can be attributed to dairy products and gluten? It is quite possible I guess. I remember having to plug my nose in order to finish my milk. My mom spent a lot of time researching gastrointestinal problems and we tried many different approaches to get me to feel better. At 12 years old I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis.

It’s all very interesting to me. I am learning more and more about myself every day and I continue to be amazed by the human body. It’s a good thing I decided to become a dietitian! Now my mom (who went to school for nutrition as well) and I really have good nutrition conversations.

Alright, time to go get ready for the day. I hope you had as much fun strolling down memory lane as I did.

What did you eat growing up? 

Bing Bang Boom BL(ea)T Salad

For some reason, I have been exhausted this week. I guess there could be a number of factors influencing this but I don’t know. I continue to try and listen to my body and allow it some time to rest and recuperate since it seems like that’s what it is asking for.

Weekly Activity (so far):

  • Mon: elliptical; push-ups
  • Tues: walk; push-ups
  • Wed: rest; push-ups

As you can see, simple, non-obtrusive, low-impact workouts. I am still getting my push-ups in every day for the September #dropandgimme10 challenge. I was actually lying in bed the other night about to fall asleep and remembered I hadn’t done my push-ups yet so I forced myself out and did ten. That is a weirdo dedication right there!

I track my workouts right on B.N. to keep me in check, and you can find them under the fitness tab on the top of my homepage, under Weekly Workout Log. I went through a month or so spurt where I forgot to record, but I am back in action and want to keep up with it.

I enjoy looking back and seeing what I have done in the past, especially at times when I was training for a race. This can also help me to see what worked and didn’t work in terms of training for a race, or if any tweaks could be made to help improve my experiences in the future (not that I’m one to truly “race” at a race, but it’s still nice to improve on time).

Speaking of races, Dana and I are looking into registering for one for the upcoming month or so. We are thinking around a 10k distance, but haven’t decided for sure. Any local readers have any recommendations?

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B.L.E.A.T. Salad

It’s time to talk food, and we’re going to skip right to dinner.

We all have those days where we get home from work and the LAST thing we want to think about is what to make for dinner. You know those nights where you are so hungry, but can’t decide what sounds good, and you have no energy to waddle to the kitchen and make yourself something?

Last night I had to call on the troops to get me through dinner prep, aka my husband. He is always more than willing to help, but knows how much I enjoy my kitchen time so he usually lets me do my thing, but when I ask for help he is there in a heartbeat.

Together we threw together a B.L.E.A.T.: Bacon, lettuce, egg, avocado, and tomato salad.

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I grabbed four slices of turkey bacon from the freezer, and got those cooking on the stove top. Dana got to work on cooking two eggs over-easy, and I got to chopping up the veggies for the salad. Once everything was ready, we piled it on a plate with a dash of salt and pepper and bing, bang, boom it was done.

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I can’t believe how much I’m starting to enjoy bacon. What is happening to me? Although, I do prefer the turkey bacon sort, but this is still a big change for me. My brother Scotty would be proud.

I finished dinner off with a nice big peach that I had actually packed as an afternoon snack at work but never got around to eating.

photo

So there’s your proof in the pudding that you CAN put together a nice meal even when you feel like all you want to do is pick up the phone and order take-out. Put the phone down! Go to the kitchen.

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It turns random…

I was clearing out my cupboards last week and stumbled upon a box of Kix Cereal that had been opened a while ago but was still about 3/4 full of cereal. Since neither Dana or I are eating any grains (I am following the SCD), these weren’t going to get eaten. I am not one to throw away food without a fight. I had my taste-tester make sure they hadn’t gone bad, and then got to thinking.

Growing up, mom always kept cereal stocked in the house, and being that there were three teenage boys in the house, you better believe we had many-a-boxes of cereal at any given time. She was finding that when she went to clean out the cupboard, a good chunk of the cereal boxes only had a tiny bit of cereal left in the bottom, not enough for one bowl. She was also not one to let food go to waste, so she got creative.

She threw every last bit of cereal from the remnants left in the boxes into a big bowl, and then melted marshmallows, a tiny bit of butter, and peanut butter on the stove top. She mixed the peanut butter love into the cereal, and made what I always remembered to be the most delicious cereal bars. How could they not be? Cereal…amazing. Peanut butter…amazing. Marshmallows….um yah! Put these components all into one bar and you have a match made in heaven. It was a great way to use up those last bits of cereal.

With these memories, I got to work and made a batch of peanut butter Kix bars to bring in to a work meeting.

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The verdict: my co-workers went crazy over them.

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They were snatched left and right and gone before I could say General Mills and just like that I didn’t have to feel guilty about wasting food. Even though I’m not eating cereal myself,   it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy every second of watching my co-workers enjoy them.

There a million different ways to make this bar. You could add nuts, extra marshmallows, chocolate, omit the peanut butter (What??! No.), toss in some dried fruit, add sprinkles…go ahead and get creative. You’ll feel like a kid again!

That is all for today. Sorry this post is completely every where, but that’s kind of where my head is at this week. I hope you all have a tremendous Thursday. Always excited to catch up with you again!

Love and Kix,

M

Berry Me, Today & Everyday

Helllllllo friends! I have had a medium Caribou Coffee and am fully charged and I have lots to cover today, so bear with me…

Celebrating Allison and Adam

Last night we celebrated the marriage of one of my friends from high school, Adam, to his new beautiful wife Allison. The ceremony and reception were both held at the Nicollet Island Pavilion which is such a gorgeous venue.

Their ceremony was outside under a tent, overlooking the river. There was a cool breeze off of the water that felt great, and the ceremony itself was beautiful.

After the ceremony, there was the social hour followed by a delicious dinner, speeches, dancing, the whole kit and caboodle.

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Me with my happy husband…

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Me with the happy groom…

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 The lovely table decorations. I can really appreciate all of the decorations at weddings now that I have planned my own. Oh, by the way, today is Dana and my 11 month anniversary! Holy cow, does time fly. 

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Me with the hot ladies: Kristin and Annie.

photo

I seriously struggled with the lighting in the venue last night and capturing quality food photos just wasn’t happening for me, but I still want to share them with you because the food was excellent!

Side note: while attempting to photograph my food at dinner, I kept hearing Gretchen [who gave a presentation on improving photos at HLS] in my head saying “say no to flash.” I had to use the flash a little because it was so dark and my hand doesn’t stay still enough. I did my best.

Light and sweet balsamic salad: with flash

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Honey Dijon chicken (amazing): no flash.

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Lemon-raspberry cake I think? Whatever it was it was delicious. Flash or no flash, I’m not sure. I could have sworn Dana snapped this one with no flash but it looks like there is a flash on the plate. Doesn’t matter. It was nummy.

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We had such a great time celebrating with the newlyweds last night. You know I was on the dance floor last night awkwardly jumping/dancing like no one was watching. Congrats to Allison and Adam!

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Driscoll’s Berry Me, Today and Every Day

Total change of subject, but you may have noticed that I have been eating berries like CRAZY lately. Besides the fact that they’re still fairly in season and are so easy to find in the stores right now, the generous folks of Driscoll’s Berries gave me a couple of coupons for their berries so that I could go delight my taste buds with nature’s candy, free of cost. Yes, really, it’s amazing.

I’ve been adding Driscoll’s berries to “cereal”….

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To salads…

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Eating them plain Jane, and making new recipes, like this one…

I began by making a SCD friendly, gluten-free tortilla. You can use any tortilla you like though.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Tortilla

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°. Use cooking spray to lightly coat a round pie pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour and cinnamon; set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl beat together egg and water.
  4. Add flour to egg mixture; mix well.
  5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 10-13 minutes.

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Next, it was to time start assembling. I rinsed my Driscoll’s strawberries…

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And then onto the tortilla went a big smear of natural Parker’s peanut butter, sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, chia seeds, and a drizzle of honey.

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Now wrap it up! It was the perfect breakfast wrap but could also be eaten for lunch, dinner, or even a snack.

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Can I even call this a recipe? It’s just so easy.

Strawberry Nutty ‘Naner Wrap

Ingredients

  • Tortilla (whole grain, gluten-free, SCD, whatever you like)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 banana, sliced
  • 4-5 Driscoll’s strawberries, sliced (depends on the size of the berry!)
  • drizzle of honey
  • sprinkle of chia seeds for good luck

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients on to tortilla. Wrap it up, eat. Love.

I have always been a berry lover. When I was a babe, my family and I traveled up to Gooseberry Falls, MN and did some blueberry picking. I was eating them faster than any body else and I was only 4 years old. I haven’t changed since. This opportunity to experiment with their berries was right up my alley!

Besides strawberries and raspberries, Driscoll’s also farms blackberries and blueberries. For more information about their products, you can check them out here! Delicious.

I am off to try and make something of myself today. I’m feeling a little tired from the festivities last night, but hope to get my butt moving. There will hopefully be a workout involved, and some weed pulling in the back yard! Talk about a crazy Saturday, right?

Alright, you go have yourselves a marvelous day. Peace, love, and berries until next time.

Birthdays, 5k, State Fair

Yes, it was a jam-packed full of fun weekend.

It began Saturday morning. Dana and I hit the gym together (the what?!) and we worked through a back and bicep strength training routine. I left feeling very disappointed because I have noticed how weak I have become lately due to the U.C. and the limited energy I have had.

“But you gotta keep your head up….” and then laugh a little. I was pretty mopey after the gym but Dana cheered me up with this:

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My mood improved after that. I know I need to get through this, and will get through this, and I will slowly begin to rebuild my strength. After my little moment, I cheered up thinking about the fun day ahead.

Dana and I headed to my grandpa’s house to visit with him, my mom and dad, and many of other family members who were in from out of town. We were only able to stay for a short while, but I absolutely loved seeing each and every one of them. I miss them all so much.

While we were there I felt the need to explain to them why we were looking all gnarly that day in our 80’s outfits. We were heading to an 80’s themed birthday party…

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For our dear friend, Stacy.

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The day was full of lots of laughs, big hair, neon, Glen Gulia, creepers (Nate and Nate) and great “rad” friends. We had a blast celebrating Stacy’s big day with her. Today is her ACTUAL birthday so…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY STACY!!! Love ya!

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Sunday

On Saturday morning Dana and I participated in our 3rd annual Minnesota State Fair Milk run. It is a 5k race which takes place just outside of the state fair grounds and starts at 7:45 am.

The weather was perfect. It was overcast, cool, and humid so I felt like my legs warmed up really fast but the cool temperature kept me cool. Duh?

Anyway, it felt like a great run. I am really curious to see our times which haven’t been posted yet. I felt like we were running at a pretty good pace but I’ve been wrong before so we’ll see.

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After the race we headed to the great Minnesota get-together, aka The Minnesota State Fair. Those of you who aren’t from MN, the state fair is a BIG deal around here. I frankly don’t think it deserves all of the hype, but I do enjoy going every year.

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It’s mostly a food fest, but there are other activities such as carnival rides, farm animals, sky rides, an agriculture building, a health building, etc. I do enjoy checking out a lot of those things, but I can’t handle crowds very well, so the visits are usually short lived.

Dana’s one item that he gets every year is the Pronto-Pup, or a corn dog if you will. I pass on the wiener on a stick.

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Since I know we never stay long at the fair, and I have a limited stomach capacity, I try to choose my foods wisely. My first choice was falafel on a stick which I shared with hubs.

Next, was our free malts that we got from the Milk Run.

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Mashed potatoes on a stick. These were actually very good. I was craving salty and this was definitely that. It was mashed potatoes, cheese, and bacon, all deep fried. Again, “says the dietitian.” We split these as well.

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The last item we wanted to try was the bacon ice cream. The ice cream had a maple flavor and the bacon added a touch of salty bite to the combo. Meh, it was okay. We both agreed we wouldn’t get it again, but were glad we tried it.

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Food fest 2012. I’m not proud of what I ate, but it only happens once a year so I know I shouldn’t feel too bad about it.

Sunday afternoon led us to celebrate yet another birthday, this one for my amazing brother Kevin. His birthday was last week but it worked out best to celebrate last night.

We had a very relaxing evening outside where we chatted, gave Kevi his birthday presents…

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Ate delicious turkey sliders with chili cheese dip courtesy a la madre…

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And birthday cake courtesy a la Melanie.

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Kevin loves chocolate and peanut butter just as much as I do, so I decided to make him a chocolate peanut butter cake (inspired by Courtney).

I cheated and used a boxed gluten-free devil’s food cake mix. I baked two round cakes, and made a homemade peanut butter frosting to glue the layers together (don’t think I didn’t taste test the frosting as I was making the cake). It was peanut butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla all whipped together.

I then topped the cake with store-bought sugar-free chocolate frosting and finished it off with chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups.

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I completely forgot to snap a photo of the inside of the cake! It was beautiful too. Oh well. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t believe I was able to scarf down a piece of cake after all of the sugar I had already consumed that day. Blah. Dana and I both left feeling Thanksgiving stuffed, but it was well worth it. I loved celebrating with you Kevi! Love you all so much.

What an amazing weekend. Now, it’s time to detoxify my body from all of this extra sugar it’s not used to, and try to give it the rest it needs.

Have a great day everyone.

Prescribe Myself Some Rest

Hi friends! I had so much fun reliving my weekend at the Healthy Living Summit, but I am happy to now be back to normalcy again. In case you missed it, you can catch up on my most recent HLS Boston trip.

Destination Boston HLS12

Shake Out the Nerves: HLS Day 1

Cheers to New Friends: HLS Day 2

Decisions, Decisions: HLS Day 3

It’s time to get back into the groove. You remember how this works right? It’s time for a breakdown of my Wednesday. Here we go.

Breakfast

Overnight Chia Bowl made with:

  • Fage 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • Silk unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • chia seeds
  • stevia
  • blueberries
  • strawberries

I let all of the ingredients except the strawberries mingle together over night, and topped the bowl with fresh strawberries in the morning.

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Lunch

Curry turkey salad over a bed of lettuce. I wrote down the recipe for this one but haven’t decided if I want to share or not because I wasn’t over the top thrilled by it. It was good though don’t get me wrong.

In the mix: celery, onions, turkey breast, grapes, Greek yogurt, and spices.

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Dinner

I stopped at mom and dad’s after work to hang out with them before heading over to meet with some girl friends for So You Think You Can Dance? I munched on some trail mix while relaxing, and then made my way to the table for dinner.

I had a very random, yet delicious dinner: spinach, green beans, and tomato…

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And a half of a banana with peanut butter for some protein which went unphotographed so I used an old photo instead. Perfect!

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The rest of the evening was spent with my girlfriends Amanda, Jules, and Sara. We girl-talked it up, watched SYTYCD, and ate M & M’s (BTW I have been over-doing it on the chocolate lately) while lounging on the couch. I had a great time with them, and always do. Kate, we missed you!

U.C. Update

I was going to end this post with a recipe, but decided to wait on that and give you an update on my Ulcerative Colitis instead. It has now been 3 months that I have been sick and unfortunately, I have to report that I’m still not feeling well. Certain symptoms have subsided such as bloating, which I can mostly attribute to removing gluten from my diet, but other symptoms (which I’ll spare you the details of) are still not under control.

I go through peaks and valleys where I am feeling fairly well for a few days, and then something happens whether it’s stress or a busy weekend, and I am thrown off again.

I am finding my energy level to be very low, so much as I am not working out nearly as much as I used to and it’s becoming less and less of a priority. Sleeping has become the priority, and I am truly trying to honor my body’s request for it.

I am seeing the doctor regularly, eating a very healthy diet, taking my medications as prescribed, sleeping, being active when I can, but the one thing I know need to work on is rest. With the summer being so busy, it is hard to rest. Maybe I should give myself a prescription to rest, then maybe I’ll do it? I’ll work on that. I think this is something that most of us could probably work on, am I right?

My mom reminds me that in the big picture of life, this time in my life is just a small little nick in the frame. With that being said, I must remind myself that not working out is not a big deal right now, and that rest is okay and saying no to invites is okay and that friends will understand. It’s hard to remember that when you are so used to the opposite.

I don’t mean to be a downer but I really wanted you all to get an update because it’s been a little while since I’ve given you one. I continue to try to stay positive, but this is really taking a toll on me. I won’t be sick forever, I can promise you that. I was just hoping to have fought this off already. I’m still me, just a more delicate me. I can’t wait for the day when I can tell you I am in remission and feeling fabulous. Let’s hope it’s soon.

Thank you all for letting me vent. I feel much better. I hope you all have a great Thursday and I look forward to catching up with you again soon!

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

Happy Hump Day! Hope everyone is doing well on this mid-week day .

Breakfast

Breakfast yesterday was a smoothie-on-the-go packed with strawberries, blueberries, banana and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I love how the vanilla almond milk tastes in the smoothie.

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Lunch

A seriously rockin’ salad. Mixed greens with mango, blueberries, strawberries, avocado, almonds, feta cheese, and Newman’s Own Lite Raspberry Walnut vinaigrette.

Honestly this salad rocked my socks.

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I worked a half day yesterday, so afterwards I headed to mom and dad’s. I ate dessert when I got there (I always raid the cupboards upon arrival), which was peanut butter and chocolate chips while I said hi to Abbie (mom and dad’s sweet little Yorkie-poo who I adore).

Then I changed into my workout gear, laced up the ol’ sneakers, and hit the pavement. I jogged/walked their neighborhood and covered 4.5 miles. It was mid-80’s and sunny while I was out and I have determined I am a weenie when it comes to running in the heat. I melted and ended up running 70% of the time and walking 30% of the time, and that may be a little generous even on the running side.

After the “wun” (walk/run), I headed to the basement to cool off. I still had some mojo left, so I hopped on their elliptical for 10 minutes while watching Giada at Home. Finally, I finished with the bench press.

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I gave Abbie one last kiss and headed out the door back home to my own big puppy and hubby.

Snack

For an afternoon snack I had a bowl of cooked carrots with cinnamon and sugar.

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Dinner

Not long after my snack, both Dana and I were getting super hungry, so I figured I may as well start dinner instead of more snacking.

For dinner I made Black Bean Quinoa Burgers.

To the food processor I added 2 cups of cooked black beans, 1/4 cup diced onion, 1 minced garlic glove, 1/2 cup quinoa, 1 tablespoon of cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 cup salsa, 2 tablespoons egg whites, salt and pepper, and a miniature pinch of red pepper flakes.

I pulsed these ingredients until combined, leaving it slightly chunky and making sure not to let it turn into a hummus paste.

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I chilled the mixture for about 5 minutes. We got too impatient to wait any longer, plus the mixture was still cold from using cold ingredients so it was easy to handle.

I formed the mixture into 7 patties and placed them on a lightly sprayed piece of aluminum foil. Before they hit the grill I sprinkled them with garlic and onion powder.

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We grilled them over medium-low heat for 20 minutes; flipping halfway through.

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I topped my burger with salsa and avocado, and served it alongside a simple green salad with cheddar cheese and Western dressing.

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Talk about a great meatless meal and perfect for the summer because I didn’t have to use the oven at all. Niiiiiiice.

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

Ingredients

  • 2 cups black beans, cooked
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • a dash of chili pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup salsa, heaping
  • 2 Tbsp. egg white

Directions

  1. Preheat grill to medium-low.
  2. In food processor, lightly pulse all ingredients and keep chunky.
  3. Form into patties and place on lightly sprayed aluminum foil. Place on grill.
  4. Grill for 20 minutes; flipping on foil halfway.

Dessert

While watching the Olympics, we whipped up a wonderfully creamy dessert that I have grown to LOVE. Cocoa banana soft serve baby; cocoa powder, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and frozen bananas.

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So good.

I’ll leave you with that beautiful sight. Have a great day!