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Monthly Archives: May 2010

Epic Roots

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Tired of the same boring salad made of shredded, nutritionally lacking iceberg lettuce?  Want a more HEARTY base for amping up your favorite pasta?  Need something more flavorful as a foundation for your bowl of greens? EPIC ROOTS to the rescue!  There is SO much to say about the great things entailed with this company.  They’ve got a pot of gold on their hands called Mâche, which is and heirloom green, adored by Europeans, first appearing in the Renaissance period.  Grown in the mineral rich soil of Northern California, it arrives at restaurants and specialty grocers faster and fresher than imported produce.
 

For starters?  The eight artisianal Mâche mixes are absolutely stunning and are even more flavorful than they are beautiful.  I never knew a salad base could have to much taste all on its own.  The colors of the leaves are so fresh and vibrant looking, you can TELL that you’re giving your body something amazing and nutritious.

They’ve got a variety of blends to choose from, my favorite probably being the Salade Verte which was a seductively sweet & spicy melange of greens combining different textures, tastes, shapes, & colors!  The website describes it best and mentions that it is a modern twist on a traditional Provençal Mesclun blend.  Bold & dramatic, just the way I like my leaves ;) 

It was really neat how the back of each package had a recommended recipe in which the best pairings were listed.  For example, the Red Romance, a symphony of shades of red–Lolla Rosa, Red Leaf, Red Oak, and Red Romaine with Mâche, goes well with some dried cranberries & goat cheese or pears, whereas the nuttiness of the Mache Rosettes accompanies best meats & fish dishes sauteed or fresh.

Everyone knows that salad & greens are nutritional superstars, but did you know that an ENTIRE package (3.5 oz) of this stuff will only run you about 25 calories?!  Each serving is an EXCELLENT source of Omega-3s (12% of the RDA), Vitamins A & C, Iron, Folic Acid, and Zinc!

Each of the blends come in a ready-to-use clamshell plastic container, made of corn-based NatureWorks® biopolymer (Polyactide-PLA), which is an environmentally-friendly plastic derived from 100% annually renewable resources rather than traditional petroleum-based plastics.  Just another admirable trait of Epic Roots!

This review would not be possible without the generous, Jennifer who kindly sent me some Epic Roots for the review so I could share the goodness with you all! You’ve got to try this stuff!  Check out their website to learn where you can buy it in a store near you!

Feel Good Friday.

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Verse of the Day:

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

- Romans 12:15

Pretty straight forward, no?

Today is all about what makes you feel good.   What makes ME feel good is starting off with a big old bowl of SOC, so that’s what I did… in a sweet Cali bowl, no less.

fiber bran cereal & optimum nutrition + water & ice.

Know what else makes me feel good?  CoffeeLots.  So I sipped on a cup at my desk at work.  This was no Birthday Cake coffee, but it did the job.  At about 12:05 PM, I dug into lunch which was packed the night prior.

Fiber Gourmet is feel good food, too.

 1 Serving Fiber Gourmet rotini, melted with 1 wedge Sonoma Jack’s light cheese, a spoonful of Oikos, and a spoonful of light canned Tuna (in water) mixed with whole green beans for extra veggie power.  On the side, I diced some cherry tomatoes & cukes drizzled raspberry vinaigrette made with sf raspberry syrup & vinegar.

About the time I got off work, I was meeting a friend for a shopping adventure (to use up some OVERDUE giftcards) so I munched on an apple.  Munching always feels good ;)

cameo.

+ a light string cheese (50 calories) that escaped the camera.

This snack held me about 3 1/2 hoursShopping is another feel good thing for me.  Especially when I’ve got gift cards that were almost forgotten about and end up spending only about $12 :)

sun dresses.

We had a lot of fun searching out some fabulous finds!  These camis were BOGO.

lace trimmed.

I also had a coupon from Vicky’s Secret for a pair of undies ;)  They will NOT shared on the blog, well because its a SECRET, duh. 

When I got home, I made some dinner.

simple & satisfying.

I steamed some broccoli in the microwave & topped it off with some nooch.   There was obv. some reduced sugar ketchup dipping that took place.

noochy greens.

Chomped on alongside of one of my fave feel good foods, a baked sweet potato mashed with SF vanilla bean syrup.

skin & all.

To wash it all down, I had a Black & Blueberry Sobe Lifewater.

I decided I wanted to get a little bit of exercise in (I had probably already walked about a mile while shopping!), so I went down to the basement and rode old faithful for about 35 minutes burning a mere 200 calories.

I realized I had some packages waiting for me when I got home, so I quickly rampaged through them with excitement.  Mail is another “feel good” thing for me ;)

the goods.

Tim from Optimum Nutrition is SO sweet.  He was totally generous and agreed to help me out when I asked him about comparing Whey protein to Casein Protein.  I’m working on a post comparing the two, completely and he sent me some Casein to try so I could experience it for myself! :)  I loved the Whey he sent, and couldn’t wait to try the Casein!  Full review to come along with the comparisons!

 Since I didn’t have any protein with dinner, I figured I’d get a head-start on my review!

The bars!

I tried a tiny nibble of each & then whipped up some protein Cookies N’ Cream ice cream.

1 scoop protein powder, 1 pinch xanthan gum, splash of h2o, & lots of ice

Who wouldn’t “feel good” after that kind of dessert?!  It was ALOT thicker than the Whey powder, but I won’t get into details now.   It’ll be saved for the comparison post!  VERY yummy, though!

Again, when the rest of the family got home, we all got to catch up with Daddy via Skype, which has been a total “feel good” blessing.  After all, there’s nothing like being able to say goodnight to the ones you love!  :)

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND & Memorial Day, LOVES!  We’ll catch up on Monday!

1. What’s your favorite “feel good” food or activity? For food, I’m going to go with sweet potatoes, I think!  There’s something so warm and comforting about them.  As for an activity, I think feeling good is all about feeling alive and nothing makes me feel more invigorated than a great sweat sesh!

2. Got any exciting weekend plans? Saturday I’m headed to ArtsFest downtown with a friend & then to the circus that night.  Sunday, my friend from Texas (he’s in the Army) is coming to see me for the first time in far too long, and then we’re going to pick up my Daddy at midnight from the airport!!  Can’t wait to see him.  Monday is a family Memorial Day picnic at mi casa.
XO.

Layers.

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Verse of the Day:

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

- Acts 20:24 

with a shake of cinnamon.

You know it’s going to be a good day when your morning starts off with a bowl of noodles :)  Plus, I love these colors together [orange + teal]

breakfast pasta.

 It may be a stretch for some of you, but it hit the spot this morning!  For the sauce, I combined: 1/2 C. FF cottage cheese + 1 1/2 Tbsp. SF apricot jam in my blender with a splash of SF Vanilla Bean Torani syrup.  Then, I cooked up some Fiber Gourmet rotini noodles and layered them in the bowl, stirring in the cottage cheese sauce.  I diced up some cantaloupe to throw in, and VOILA!  It was kinda like baked unbaked peach cantaloupe keugel?!

Lunch time rolled around and I was ready to devour my packed sustenance.

Easy lunch boxes rock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 1 Quorn Turk’y Burger (sliced) + steamed veggies (snap peas, peppers, broccoli, & carrots) layered over fresh spinach + 1/2 sandwich flat with Sonoma Jacks & SF blackberry jam for mini sandwich making!

Around 3Pm my belly was growling, so I opted for some black coffee with Splenda sipped at my desk.

looking thrilled to be at work.

After work, I scrounged up a last gala apple & some oikos for pre-gym.

typical.

The workout was the same 65 minute cardio routine on the elliptical at levels 7&9 (720 calories) followed by these moves:

  • 3 sets of 25 hip adductors @ 90 lbs.
  • 3 sets of 25 hip abductors @ 115 lbs.
  • 3 sets of 15 situps on the incline bench (each side; total: 135)
  • 3 sets of 35 “in-and-outs”
  • 3 sets of 10 pushups
  • 3 sets of 30 mountain climbers
  • 3 sets of 20 lat pulldowns @ 45 lbs.

Post gym, I hit up the grocery store to restock some goodies (aka water & gala apples).

As soon as I got home I started on dinner, where layers were key ;)

First, I cooked up 1 Applegate Farms Apple Chicken Sausage & some frozen veggies (broccoli, red pepper, onions, & mushrooms) on the stove top in 1/4C. Light Ragu.

layer 1: fresh spinach; layer 2: Fiber Gourmet rotini; layer 3: veggies & sausage; layer 4: 1/4 C. Light Ragu!

This dish was loaded with Fiber Gourmet pasta, fresh and cooked veggies, and a tasty source of protein!  The flavors and textures were soooo yummy together!  You’ve gotta try it ;)

ick.

Weird quirk about me?  I don’t like the casing/skin on the sausages, so I peeled it off where I could see it!  haha. 

I cleaned up, packed lunch, washed some dishes, and showered up!  It was soon time for the next Skype date with Pops & I had exciting news for him!

While we were waiting for him to get online, I whipped up some dessert, which was breakfast inspired!

dark chocolate raspberry mousse.

I just blended 1C. FF cottage cheese + 1 1/2 Tbsp. SF Blackberry Jam + Calorie Free Walden Farms Chocolate syrup + ice and sprinkled with a dash of Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa powder.

Skyping!

 Since I got to share the good news with the family first, I’ll fill you in!  On my way to work yesterday morning, my favorite radio station, The Word FM was working on a project with Compassion International to get needy children from 3rd world countries sponsored by donations in hopes of giving them opportunities that they may have never gotten to have.

I just felt like God was convicting me so much that I needed to check out the website and see what I could do to help.  For $38 a month, or $1 a day, you can sponsor your very own child.  You’ll be able to write to and be in contact with this child throughout the entire process and can really develop a close relationship.  I clicked on the page to find out more information, and a handsome little boy from NICARAGUA popped up on my screen.

Christopher.

God was clearly speaking to me, so I can officially say that I am his sponsor! :)  I can’t wait to start writing to him and was thrilled to share the news with my Dad.  The info said that he lived very close to where my Dad is working down there, so Pops is going to ask around to see if anyone knows him!! How cool is that?!  If you think you could possibly help one of these children out, please check out the website for more info or even just to get a glimpse into the lives of the kids.  I thought of it this way:  If I can spare $1 a day for a Diet Mt. Dew out of the vending machine at work, I can CLEARLY afford to set aside that money for a child, instead :)

It’s almost Friday, guys!!  Start your weekend right by winning some Oikos from Healthy & Sane! Have a goodie!!

XO,

Fabulous [FOUR] Flats

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In honor of  “hug a carb” celebrations (yes, I’m a little late), this post is dedicated to Fabulous Flats, one of my NEWEST favorite ways to consume some hearty whole-grains ;)

 

There are SEVERAL reasons why this company is SO bomb.

Numero Uno.  “The Clean Rule”.

Numero Dos.  Two words.  Tandoori Naan.

You heard me right.  Hand-stretched, all-natural, traditionally made, Tandoori Naan.

Whole Grain Naan.

I got to try two varieties of the delicious, doughy Naan, including the Whole Wheat & the Garlic varieties.  Both of which were fresh, fluffy, and delightfully flavored.

Garlic Naan.

No “iffy” ingredients.  ALL things I can totally pronounce & identify!  These babes were even voted one of the 125 BEST packaged foods for women in 2009 by Women’s Health Magazine!

Naan, for me is a total treat food.  So, when this nutrition label told me that I could eat an entire HALF of the Naan for just 160(Wheat)/170(Garlic) calories, you can imagine my excitement.  They’re totally wholesome and you can feel good about fueling your body with them!

Numero Tres. Sandwich Flats.

multi-grain.

These wholesome flats are perfect for sanwiches or snacks.  I love that they’re pre-sliced, and that you can have two treats in one!  For example, spreading Sonoma Jack’s light cheese on one side & sf jelly on the other!

Two in one!

Orrr you can go ahead & get crazy, just piling one ontop of the other ;) 

They come in Whole Grain White & Multi-grain.  I think I liked the multi-grain just a tad better, due to the crunchy-ish texture thanks to the flax and sunflower seeds!  You get 6 in each package!

The stats are pretty great!  Just 170 & 180 calories, low in fat, and high in fiber!  They’re very versatile, too!  You can use them for mini pizzas, for stacking up a veggie burger, as part of a deli sandwich, or topped with nut butter, honey, light cheese, or jam!  I think I’d like to try making french toast with them next! :)

Numero Quatro.  Stone-baked PIZZA crusts!

This hand-stretched, Italian style crust will have you BEGGING for more with its all-natural ingredients, enhanced texture (due to the stone-baking), and authentic homemade taste

Multi-grain Pizza Crust

This makes for an ideal meal for families without the time or energy to prepare & bake their own crust.  Simple ingredients with endless possibilities!  I can’t wait to get creative with mine!!  I’m seeing some FRUIT pizza in my future!! And possibly some bruschetta or cinnamon sugar sticks?!  Stay tuned!

You can find out where to get these FABULOUS FLATS by checking out this page on their site, which lists stores by state!  They’ve also got a neat page of recipes that I’m excited to try out!  Thanks so much, Nicole!

 

Date With Dad!

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Verse of the Day:

 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

- John 3:17

I know I say this everytime, but this is such a great verse.  It’s so true.  Some people look at Christianity as “set of rules” that you have to live by, when in reality it is SO much more than that.  A personal relationship with Christ who SAVED us, is the total JOY of my life.  Think of where we would be without it!  Doomed to an eternity in Hell.  As opposed to thinking of God as a “dictator“, try thinking of Him as the SAVIOR He is!

That being said, I guess we’ll start at the beginning.  Before I get carried away, make sure to head on over to Danica’s Daily for your chance to win some Biggest Loser books!  Breakfast was consumed at around 7:15 AM & consisted of the typical “SOC“.

Fiber One & Optimum Nutrition.

Have I told you lately how much Cali bowls rock? :) Cause they do.

I worked until about 12 noon when I breaked to eat my packed lunch!

Lots of crunchy veggies!

I love sampler style lunches like this because I get to munch, munch, munch.  In the mix there are some cucumber fries, celery, orange pepper, snap peas, & baby carrots which got dunked in my sweet bean dip made with ff refried beans + sf syrup.

Ringling Bros. + Barnum & Bailey!

To my excitement, I saw this train outside my window at work.  Yes, this is the view from my desk!  Ringling Bros. are the most famous circus that I know of, and they’re coming to my area! 

My friend Josh & I already decided we’re totally going on Saturday night ;)  I can’t tell you the last time I went to a circus!! Does that, or does that not look freaking exciting?! 

Anywho, 4PM rolled around rather quickly and I was headed out to my Momma’s first District softball game as head coach. 

I decided some lunch dessert was in order (at 4pm?! I know ;)) before I left

apple crisp!

I microwaved a diced gala apple for about 2 min, ground up some Fiber bran cereal, and combined with some cinnamon.  MMmm Mmmm GOOOD.

yes, it was eaten in a coffee mug :)

I wrote her a little card this morning wishing her luck and telling her how proud I already was of all she’s accomplished with the girls. 

This girl hit a TRIPLE around the 5th inning which scored a bunch of runs!

It was a great game, which we almost allowed to slip through our fingers!  The score was 6-1 going into the 5th inning, but by the 7th, we were tied up!  Finally, we got a nice poke to right field made by one of the senior girls, to score a run and come out victorious, 7-6.  Momma FF was like a celeb. afterward, being interviewed by newspapers!

It was approximately 7:13PM. Ha.

When I got home I decided on something light for dinner.  While my broccoli slaw was steaming in the microwave, I chewed on a whole grain sandwich flat slathered in Sonoma Jacks & SF apricot Polaner jelly+fiber.

Quorn & slaw.

I threw a Quorn Chick’n Cutlet with my broccoli slaw and drizzled in some SF syrup mixed with soy sauce for a sweet teriyaki flavor. 

protein & veggies.

It was mighty good.  I just loveeee these easy frozen sources of protein.  They never go bad and always taste delish when you make them.  SO totally easy to prep, too! Perfect for when I’m feeling lazy ;)

Until the family got home, I went downstairs and hit the stationary bike for about an hour while facebooking (300 calories burned).

After dinner, we downloaded SKYPE!  Coolest thing EVER.  I got to have a date with my Daddy all the way in Nicaragua!!!  He comes home in FOUR DAYS!  Yes, the count down is on!  We chatted with him for about an hour & then I had a handful of bloobs for dinner dessert. 

We’ve got another Skype date tonight & I can’t wait!  Exciting news, coming tomorrow regarding a little boy from Nicaragua!

QUESTION TIME! 

1. Have you ever been to the circus?  If so, what’s your favorite “act”?  Once when I was really little!  I don’t remember much, but I LOVED the tigers.  Oh, and the acrobats!

2. Do you Skype & if so, what’s your fave feature?  I’m a newbie!  I love that I could actually SEE my Daddy from SO many miles away. Technology never ceases to amaze me.

Happy Hump Day, bloggies!  Enjoy ;)

XO.

All Twisted Up.

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Verse of the Day:

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”

- James 1:19 

Wow.  It’s so funny how God knows exactly what we need to hear and always shows us what He wants us to work on.  This verse really hits home for me because I know I can be irritable sometimes and quick to anger.  I’m not an angry person by any means, but I let little things annoy me, causing me to lack showing God’s love to others.  I get especially impatient behind the wheel!

That being said, I hit the road yesterday morning with a perfectly satisfied belly. 

SOC = Smoothie Over Cereal.

Fiber Select (the generic brand of Fiber One at our local store) has been unstocked the past THREE times I was at the store.  What the heck, Giant Foods?!  I guess God is giving me opportunities to work on being slow to anger ;)  Haha.  It just stinks paying about $1 more per box for the “Fiber One” brand label when the nutritional stats for the cheaper stuff are even better! 

Before I knew it, lunch time rolled around and I had this savory packed dish waiting for me in the fridge at work to be eaten at my desk.

Scrum-diddly-umptuous.

Aren’t you proud?!  It’s not the typical raw veggies with homemade honey mustard & a Light Flat Out, as per my usual packed lunch!  These salmon burgers from SeaPak are inspirational, I tell you ;) 

upclose&personal.

I just cooked one up on the stove, steamed a bag of broccoli slaw in the microwave, laid a base of some fresh spinach, and topped the whole dish with a mix of sugar free syrup + soy sauce…asian inspired?  SO delish.  For my whole grains, I packed 1/2 of a Fabulous Flats whole grain sandwich flat and some SF Blackberry jam + fiber for spreading.

About the time I arrived home from work, I was ready for my carby protein snack and missed my beloved greek yogurt in my diet this weekend.

gala + oikos & sf cinnamony syrup.

This snack fueled me through a good 9 miles on the elliptical at levels 7-9 burning 713 calories (or so the machine told me ;)) over a total of 65 minutes.

After cardio, I did some lifting & floorwork:

  • 3 sets of 25 hip abductors @ 115 lbs.
  • 3 sets of 25 hip adductors @ 90 lbs.
  • 3 sets of 35 “in-and-outs”
  • 3 sets of 1 min. Supermans
  • 2 sets of 15 & 2 sets of 12 sit ups on the incline bench to each side (total: 162)
  • 3 sets of 15 lat pull downs @ 45 lbs.

When I got home, I got to work on the party foods for girls’ night including THESE braided twists!

pre-baking.

They’re basically pastries that come with frosting packets (one cream cheese & one chocolate).  The insides of the pastries are filled with either boston cream (for the chocolate sauce) or strawberry (for the cream cheese sauce).  They looked pretty neat, but the nutritional stats were pretty ugly, so I stayed away.  My Mom actually bought them from a school fundraiser, so they weren’t homemade.  They came in frozen plastic wrappers!  Not my style ;) 

 For dinner, I whipped together a quick salad.  I used a Quorn Chick’n Cutlet that the company sent me, cooked up on the stove top in salsa & taco seasoning.

chicken taco salad.

Next, I heated up some ff refried beans in the microwave (not quite a whole serving), and mixed it with a touch of greek yogurt.  I used the rest of the yogurt cup for dressing, which I mixed with a little more salsa and some Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning packet. 

close up ;)

I piled the goodies onto a bed of Mache Mix from Epic Roots along with some diced cucumber & orange pepper for veggie power.  I topped it all off with an extra dollop of salsa & chowed down.  There will DEF. be a repeat of this salad.  Mmmm.

I prepped the rest of the food for this Girls’ Night spread:

fruit, veggies, pastries, chips, crackers, & cheese.

The braided twists came out pretty well!  

ooeyy, gooey.

So far on The Bachelorette, I’ve got TWO picks:

Roberto & Jesse.

They both seemed totally genuine, but weren’t trying “too hard“.  Roberto was smooth with the salsa dancing, and I’m a total sucker for a man with dimples ;)  Jesse was just adorable and had that prince charming thing about him.  I was SOOOO glad to see JASON go.  He was a jerk the entire night!

1 Sugar Free/Calorie Free Baja Bob's Margarita mix + ice + SF Raspberry syrup + Lime Clear Splash Water.

I made a mocktail to sip on while watching the show, and munched on a ton of celery & fruit. 

The white parts are the BEST!

MOSTLY watermelon, strawberries, & blubes. THREE CHEERS FOR SUMMER FRUIT!

Exciting news!  My Sweet Pea Shiitake Risotto recipe is being featured on Trading UP Downtown, where Tina (the NuVAL expert) kindly wrote about the smart tradeoffs for a smarter, nutritionally sound version! Thanks, Tina!

It’s two question Tuesday!!

  1. If you watch the Bachelorette, who are your favorites/least faves?
  2. What’s your favorite summertime fruit?

XO.

 

Lighter Living Probiotic Bars

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Another exciting product as recently entered my shop!  These yummy, snack-sized Lighter Living bars are perfectly filling, and packed with an incredible 7.5 billion CFU of probiotics !  Incase you haven’t read “Probiotics for Dummies” yet, these guys will “boost our bodies’ immunity optimizing the absorption of nutrients that feed our cells and help us to eliminate unwanted toxins.”

I am a fan of date based bars like these because they’re usually naturally sweet and keep me full for awhile due to the fiber!  In addition to the dates, these bars are made with organic apples & walnuts as well, drizzled with a lightly sweetened organic yogurt coating.

I’ve also been known to eat a ridiculous amount of sodium in a day, which is why I was glad to see that these bars only have 15g of the stuff!  Like I said, they’ve got a respectable 9g of fiber, too!  They’re a great way to get a serving of fruit in, on the run!

The three flavors are all fabulous: Chocolate, Lemon Poppyseed, & Apricot Coconut.  I’ve found that I really love to eat these after my meal when my sweet tooth starts yelling at me, “I NEED DESSERT”.  The chocolate more than sufficed and shut up that sweet tooth pretty quickly ;) 

The only vary in nutritionals from the chocolate was the Lemon Poppyseed, which only contained 130 calories

Get yourself a 15-pack in my shop!  You won’t regret it, and your belly will thank you ;)

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