Archive | January, 2013

Sunshine Award & PB & J Protein Dessert

31 Jan

I was so excited when Leslee at Her Happy Balance nominated me for a Sunshine Award! I’ve never done one of these survey things because I didn’t think anyone actually cared that much about my personal life but……it’s definitely fun to do one once in awhile. Anyone remember those email surveys from middle school? I used to be ALL about them!

sunshine-award

Rules:
If nominated for this award, you must include a link in your blog to the person/blog that nominated you. You must also answer some questions about yourself, nominate fellow bloggers, link their blogs in your post, and inform them that they have been nominated.

Questions:

  • Who is your favorite philosopher? Ummmmm….this one?

Philosoraptor - If cookies are cookies and bacon is bacon why do we bake cookies and cook bacon

source

  • What is your favorite number? I don’t really have a favorite number, but right now my favorite number is 08-02-13..my wedding day!
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  • What is your favorite animal? Easy.
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    Frank.

  • What are your Facebook and Twitter? I don’t have a Facebook for my blog yet….it’s a current goal of mine. I think I am putting it off because I’m too embarrassed to see how many people actually won’t follow it. No confidence. Follow me on Twitter! 
  • What is your favorite time of day? I really like mornings. I don’t know when I established myself as a morning person but I think it’s partly because of breakfast….and coffee.
  • What is your favorite holiday? Christmas is always cool……presents and crap. But my absolute favorite holiday has to be the 4th of July. Summer. Sun. Friends. Family. Food. It doesn’t get any better.
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    IMG_0797[1]Austin and I 4th of July 2012

  • What is your favorite physical activity?  Going to the gym mainly. I also go biking. We’ll see how that goes this year with my back and all. I’m mad because my Dad got me all this cool biking stuff for Christmas and I’m just hoping I get to use it by summer and my back will be all better!
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  • What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink? COFFEEEEEEE. And water. I know I’m boring, but my philosophy is this: if it’s not alcoholic and it has calories, why even bother? Laughing out loud
  • What is your favorite flower? Any flowers would be nice. You know that great feeling when you get flowers just because? >Hint Hint<
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    • What is your passion? Recently, with the help of the blog community I’ve become extremely passionate about food and healthy living! I love everything about the blog community and how it inspires and supports this lifestyle!

    Nominees:

    Eating Chalk

    Running on Peanut Butter

    Lessons Life Teaches Me

    Fit Cupcaker

    Cookie Dough Katzen

     

    I also wanted to share what I have been eating for my late night snack every.single.night. this week. Yeah, it’s becoming a problem. A problem because I am going to use the last of the cottage cheese as I make this dessert AS SOON as I am done with this blog post.

    It’s a spin off a dessert I posted about a couple of weeks ago, Almond Joy Protein Pudding. 

    PB & J Protein Dessert

    1/2 cup of fat free or low fat cottage cheese

    2 tbsp PB2

    1/2 packet of stevia

    1/8 tsp of vanilla extract

    Toppings of choice: I top mine with berries, peanuts, or sugar free jam to make a PB & J flavor!

    IMG_1877[1] 

    Just blend everything up in a food processor and spoon the yummy-ness into a bowl with a spatula. So addicting and a good dose of protein before bed!  It is 125 calories without the toppings and it fills me up. I promise I’ll stop with the PB2….I know I’m obsessed with it. It’s just so delicious and versatile!

    What snacks/foods do you get addicted to and cannot stop eating? Tell me I’m not alone!

    How to save on health and beauty products at CVS

    28 Jan

    I have been dabbling in couponing for about a year now. I’m no expert by any means, but I feel like I represent the average couponer. I don’t spend countless hours clipping, printing and gathering deals just so I can stock up on useless items I’ll never use (i.e. TLC). I try to use couponing realistically to save on things I would use anyways. I already shared with you how I use couponing to save on groceries, and today I had a great CVS trip I wanted to share.

    cat

    CVS is a health and beauty store…if you’re not familiar with it it’s similar to Rite Aid. First off, you have to sign up for the Extra Bucks Card. Many stores like this one have a membership card (Rite Aid has the Wellness card). Extra Bucks allows you to receive rewards (actual coupons for dollars off) for buying certain products to use on future purchases. The thing I like about CVS is you can use the Extra Bucks the SAME DAY by doing multiple transactions and see your savings right then. Rite Aid caught on to us couponers and is now making us wait until 6 am the next business day to redeem rewards. Yeah, I can always go back the next day, but it’s annoying and I need INSTANT SAVINGS!!!!

    You can always use websites like I am THAT Lady to find CVS coupon match ups……however her match ups and transaction ideas usually feature tons of products that

    a) I would never use

    b) I didn’t bother to cut the coupon for because I would never spend money on it

    Yea, it’s cool to get stuff for free just because, but I really have no interest in spending countless hours matching up deals and cutting out coupons for stuff I would never use just so I can get free Depends, stool softener and Pepto Bismol.

    Instead, I use the match ups and Extra Bucks rewards more conservatively and realistically. I might not get that 65 packets of heartburn medicine for 2 dollars….but I’m pretty pleased with the deals I do get. Here are some steps to use these deals realistically:

    1) Cut coupons for things that you regularly use, not just brands you like. For example; cut all coupons for things like toothbrushes, toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and body wash even if it’s for a brand you don’t usually use. You can’t be a brand snob while couponing!

    2) Start looking for deals BEFORE you are out of the items. The more desperate you are, the more you will spend on an item. There’s nothing worse than realizing you’re out of toothpaste and running down to the corner store and spending $4. Or just getting the cheapest toilet paper at Wal-Mart because you’re out. I start looking for items when I know I’m down to 1-2 of them in my storage. 

    3) For each CVS trip, pick 1 –2 items that you need, have a coupon for that also give you Extra Bucks Rewards. For example, this time I picked toothpaste. It was on sale for 2.99 (regularly 4.49) and I had two coupons for $1 of one. So I got two toothpastes and used my coupons AND the deal was get $1 extra bucks for each.

    4) Pick 1-2 more things that you need, that are on sale that you have a coupon for that don’t have Extra Bucks rewards. Use the Extra Bucks Rewards PLUS the coupons in a second transaction. Just tell the cashier you want to pay for the Extra Bucks items first (in my case the toothpastes), cash out, then pay for the rest of your stuff.

    You could obviously pick way more than just 1-2 items for each transaction. I am THAT Lady has huge lists of detailed transactions that make my head hurt. I do it this way because it’s simple, I’m not wasting money on stuff I don’t need, and I don’t make the cashier and everyone in line too mad at me. Two transactions with a couple of items is fine with me!

    Today, I got all this stuff for $12! It doesn’t look like much, but each of those mascaras retails for $9! And the toothpastes were 4.49 at first!

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    So once you have your coupons, open up the CVS circular and see what you can get! Let me know how you do!

    Weekday Protein Pancakes: Two Ways

    25 Jan

    Pancakes on a weekday!?!? Way too good to be true. I usually don’t get up any where near early enough to make pancakes, but this week we were hit with some winter weather that had me getting up earlier than normal.

    I don’t know why my brain works this way, but I figured since I was already getting up early because my normal 40 minute commute turned into an hour commute, I might as well get up even EARLIER so I could make pancakes.

    I didn’t want super sweet indulgent pancakes. I have been struggling with feeling full and snacking so I wanted something with protein that would hold me over. Cereal has been making an appearance in my breakfast and I never feel full and satisfied and want to just KEEP EATING it because it’s so good.

    After perusing a lot of the protein pancake recipes on the web and not really finding anything that fit the bill, I decided to wing it. The result: delicious, satisfying and surprisingly low cal.

    They were so good on Wednesday that I made a variation of them on Thursday.

    Protein Pancakes: Two ways

    Makes 1 serving: 200 calories (not including toppings)

    1/4 cup cottage cheese

    1/4 cup oats

    2 egg whites

    1/2 scoop designer whey vanilla protein powder

    1/2 tsp cinnamon

    Blend all ingredients in a blender and cook on a pancake griddle at approx. 350 degrees for 3-4 minutes on each side.

    cakesss

    protienpancakes1

    Almost took a bite without taking a pic!

    Texture: thin, dense and filling (not your traditional fluffy and light pancakes but delicious and filling).

    Variation- Peanut Butter Chocolate Pancakes

    choc cakes

    Add 1 tsp cocoa powder (omit cinnamon)

    Replace vanilla protein powder with chocolate

    Add a few chocolate chips (add after blending)

    Top with peanut butter or PB2!

    IMG_1882[1]

    Equally as mouthwatering! Can’t wait to make more tomorrow!

    Tips for holding literature circles in the classroom

    23 Jan

    Today we kicked off literature circles in my classroom. Students are divided based on (sort-of) ability level into groups. The three books we are reading revolve around individuality, conformity and fitting in.

    IMG_0336[1]

    The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

    Well, Fahrenheit 451 is a stretch…..it’s about a future society where no one is allowed free or individual thought, TV takes over the world and firemen burn books instead of put out fires. I wanted something challenging for some of my more advanced students…and it sort of fit the bill with ‘going against the grain’ and ‘individuality’ since the main character tries to break free of this oppressive society. Think Hunger Games. Anyways, here are a few things I’m using to help the literature circles run smoothly. Nothing groundbreaking in my opinion but class went well today!

    Students assigning roles

    This obviously isn’t a new idea. Each person picks a particular role including connector, discussion director, literary luminary and travel tracer. The roles will switch periodically. My co-teacher made this cool chart so students can keep track of which job is theirs.

    IMG_0338[1]

     

    IMG_0337[1]

    Students establish rules

    Today, I had each group make two columns in their notebook- one for behaviors that might make the circles run smoothly, and one for anticipated problems. The students came up with this list.

    IMG_0340[1]

    Ew my white board is gross

    Then, I had them make a list of 5 rules the group had to adhere to. Most came up with rules like being prepared, staying on task and participating in conversation. Some students wanted to make up funny consequences for not doing the reading- like singing a song to the class or wearing a funny hat. They are harsher than I am!

    IMG_0339[1]

    Distribute a reading calendar or schedule

    I gave them a calendar with

    1) The activities for that day’s class.

    2)The homework due that day.

    3) The homework due for NEXT class.

     

    I hope that things go smoothly, I am quite nervous about having three different books going on at one time and keeping up with everything. Hopefully students will take responsibility and get the work done so I can just sit back and watch them learn!

    PB2: A Review

    22 Jan

    A lot of people have been asking me about PB2. And I, shocked that they haven’t heard about it, have been dispelling this information. I thought I’d give an actual formal review of the product and my experiences with it.

    What is it?

    image

    PB2 is like a peanut flour. It is peanut butter in powder form with out all the added fat and oil. There is 85% less fat and calories than regular peanut butter. You can read more about it at the company, Bell Plantation’s, website. The best part about it is it’s all natural! It’s perfect if you are addicted to peanut butter taste but don’t want all the extra calories. Here’s what the stats look like:

    Serving Size: 2 tablespoons

    Calories: 45

    Fat: 1.5 g

    Sugars: 1 g

    Protein: 5 g

    The caloric difference is amazing! Two tablespoons of regular peanut butter is nearly 200 calories!! They even have a chocolate flavor, which I haven’t tried. I probably should.

    What do you do with it?

    The PB2 website has tons of recipes to try. Personally, I think it works best in smoothies.

    IMG_1083[1]

    It is also good in these coconut peanut butter pancakes.

    cocnutIt also works well in oatmeal, but I have found you have to add AT LEAST two tablespoons to get a good flavor, or mix it with water first. Cookie recipes are another good way to use PB2, however, it is pricey! So I don’t usually want to part with a cup or more at a time!

    I also like to mix it with a 1/2 cup of fat free cottage cheese for a late night snack!

    IMG_1876[1]

    PB2 ‘peanut butter and jelly cheesecake dessert’

    The PB2 can basically be used as a substitute for peanut butter, but I will warn you it takes some getting used to when eaten on toast, bread and other traditional ‘peanut butter’ things. The taste is almost the same as real peanut butter, maybe a little sweeter. The texture is thinner and less rich. I, however, don’t mind because it saves me the calories. Some people do mind and I’ll admit there are some times when nothing but real peanut butter will do!

    Where can you get it?

    The Bell Plantation website is a great place to order PB2 in bulk- believe me, you’ll need it! I’ve never seen it at traditional grocery stories. I usually buy it from either the organic grocery store in my hometown, or on Vitacost.

     

    If you use PB2 already, what are some of your favorite uses???

    Grilled Banana and Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast

    21 Jan

    I don’t really have to go into too much detail about how much I love breakfast. But I do. Here are some snapshots from this weekend’s breakfast creations:

    IMG_1853[1]

    Coconut ‘cakes

    cakes

    Pancake Perfection

     

    bananaoat

    More Pancakes

    Since my weekend is still going strong (Thanks, MLK!), I decided to try something new today. My waffle maker is still on the fritz and I needed to use up the last of a loaf of bread, so I decided on French toast. After constructed, this recipe was too good not to share! I enjoyed it leisurely (since I have the day off…did I mention that?) paired with my French toast coffee!

    frenchtoast

    Serves: 1 Cook Time: 15 minutes

    2 slices low calorie all wheat bread

    3 medium egg whites

    1 banana

    3 medium strawberries

    1 tbsp PB2

    1 packet stevia

    Cinnamon

    Syrup of choice

    I started by slicing the banana in diagonal pieces and placing them on a skillet that was heated to medium heat.

    grillednanners

    I sprinkled a small amount of stevia and cinnamon on them as they cooked. I cooked them for about 3 minutes on each side until browned (eh, they burnt a little).

    Beat your egg whites in a bowl with about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and another sprinkling of stevia. When mixed, soak your bread in the mixture for 3-5 minutes while the bananas cook. 

    When bananas are done, set them aside and place your bread in the pan. Let it cook for about 4 minutes on each side. Mix up one tbsp of PB2 with 1 tbsp of water and another sprinkle of stevia.

    When bread is done, spread the PB2 mixture onto one piece of the bread.

    PB2bread

    You could use real PB obviously, but I love PB2 because it saves so many calories!

    Layer some of your banana and cut up strawberries on the first piece of toast.

    stuffedfrenchtoast

    Top with the second piece of toast and the rest of the fruit. Drizzle with syrup of choice. Shove face.

    stuffedfrenchtoast2

    FrenchToast3

    It was so good! The strawberries and peanut butter almost made it taste like a PB & J some bites. I also totaled the whole thing as < 400 calories with syrup. Definitely perfect for a lazy day off! I may not even go outside today. The temperature is hovering somewhere around 10 degrees. Ew. Is it summer yet?

    Breakfast Heaven

    18 Jan

    There really is no point to this post, I just am so ridiculously amazed at how delicious my breakfast has been the past couple of days, and I need to share it with someone who (might) care. Because no one that I’ve told has really cared. At all. And maybe you won’t. But I do.

     

    This week for breakfast I discovered the joys of …..

    MIXING CEREALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    All I have to say is….

     

    source

    I know, I know, groundbreaking. But I never really thought to do it and this week I just started throwing stuff into the bowl like:

    Kashi, Honey Nut and Multigrain Cheerios, Blueberries, Blackberries, Greek Yogurt:

     

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    Kashi, Honey Nut Cheerios, banana, chia seeds and almond butter.

     

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    I then proceeded to pour my coffee into the cup I had just melted almond butter in. Another great delicious find. I love mornings. I love breakfast. And tomorrow is my faaaaavorite day! Pancake day!

    I’m thinking about making a plate of these almond joy pancakes from dashing dish!

    IMG_0124[1]

    I usually plan out which pancake recipe I will be making at least a week 1-2 days in advance. Which reminds me, does anyone have any advice for a uncooperative waffle maker? The first time I used it the waffles came out perfectly. Then the weekend after I tried making another recipe of waffles and it completely stuck to each side. So disappointing to open that waffle maker and see what is supposed to be a delicious, fluffy piece of heaven stuck to both sides of the iron, uncooked.

    Yes, I am oiling the waffle maker pre-bake. I actually assumed that it was the ingredients that didn’t mesh well with the waffle maker, but this week while attempting to make chicken and waffles one night for dinner, it did the same thing. And this time with the recipe that I made the first time which came out perfectly. So I’m pretty angry with the thing. And I want waffles!!! Ok this post was pretty pointless but did manage to make me hungry, and make me want it to be breakfast time.

    Any suggestions? What are your favorite breakfast items?

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