a very marvelous easter

Hello my loves and happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and enjoyed some quality time with your loved ones.

Easter really snuck up on me this year, but I am just so busy with work I seriously forget when holiday’s are coming up.

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Matt and I had initial plans of going up to his parents Saturday night, but I had to work all day and by time I got home I was beat and really just wanted to relax at home. Since I was so tired and had no desire to do a thing, I also convinced Matt to meet me for dinner. A new Whole Foods opened by my work and as hard as it is to believe considering I am in love with that store, I have never eaten from their hot bar.  Yes loves, I was a brown box virgin.  Well Saturday night that all changed.

I went all out and got two brown boxes, one with a salad which was a mix of greens, herb tofu, curry tofu, edamame and then a prepared citrus kale salad with cranberries and almonds.

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I wish I had just gotten all of the prepared kale salad, because it was amazing. The herb tofu was a little disappointing, kind of bland, but the curry tofu was really good.

My second brown box was from the “hot” bar.

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I say hot in quotations because honestly everything was luke warm at most. Kind of disappointing. I got a ton of roasted veggies and then also a cajun seasoned fish.  I think it all would have tasted a lot better had it been hot and fresh. So since this was my first time eating from the hot bar, I’m not sure if this is normal or not.

Matt got a Chinese dish from one of the food stations and I will admit I was a bit jealous. Only because his food was actually hot and freshly made.  Lesson learned I suppose.  It was still a nice dinner as our Whole Foods also has a bar in it, so we ate there and enjoyed a beer with our meal.

Our Whole foods also happens to have a gelato stand, so on our way out we made sure to get some ice cream to go.

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I got the pea-berry espresso and Matt got the peanut butter chocolate chip.

Enjoyed from the comfort of our couch, kitty photo bomb included.

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We had wanted to leave decently early for Matt’s parents the next morning.  Since I pretty much forgot Easter was even coming up, I didn’t think Matt and I would really do anything other than celebrate with his parents.  Well he one upped me and surprised me with a cute little Easter basket.

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We also hid a few Easter eggs around the house, but since we were in such a hurry to get out the door we didn’t really look for them all. I’m sure we’ll be finding random ones the next few days!

We hit the road, but not before stopping for a quick coffee and photo.

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Since the visit to Matt’s parents was kind of a short one I was really focused on spending as much time with them as possible and didn’t take many pictures.

Holiday dinner’s are pretty standard: Ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls. The usual.

Every holiday however I am in charge of one thing and that’s making the salads.

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Not a huge responsibility, but I enjoy it!

Matt’s mom always makes amazing desserts and this year she decided to have a little fun with it and made a bunny carrot cake!

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I took some of her left over pieces and made a little Easter egg!

That carrot cake though, ah-mazing. I ate a whole bunny ear.

With fulls bellies Matt and I were quickly back on the road to head home.  It was a very short visit, but any time spent with family is worth it.

So loves, I hope you all had a marvelous weekend and have a marvelous Monday. And make sure to head over to the beautiful Katie’s to see how the rest of us are being marvelous.

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What are some of your Easter traditions?

bbq plantain chip guacamole sandwiches

When I get obsessed with something, I get obsessed with something.

We have all seen my food ruts and obsessions. When I find something I like to eat,  I tend to over-do it a bit and eat it constantly.

Kabocha obsession anyone?

And let’s not forget about my plantain bread obsession.

(still going strong, just in case you were wondering)

But a new obsession has started. It actually all began with my last #strangebutgood submission.

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It started with the simple creation of the rice cake, guacamole, banana and tahini stack.

Now. Rice cakes are good and all, but honestly, I’d rather have some real bread.

Which is what I moved to next.

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Silver Hills Gluten Free Chia Chia toast, guacamole, tahini.

And then I made an even more amazing combination.

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BBQ Plantain Chip Guacamole Sandwiches

When  I first started roasting my plantains into chips I was all about the sweet. I usually am. But when The Purely Twins had posted their BBQ Plantain Chips I decided to give it a shot.  I of course just tossed them in a random mix of spices, but whatever I did, they were amazing.  Thus BBQ plantain chips were my new thing. And when my guacamole/tahini obsession was created, it only made sense to combine the two.

So I did.

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BBQ Plantain Chips

Ingredients:

- 1 medium green plantain

- Spices: Paprika, Chili Powder, Cayenne Powder, Garlic Salt

- Coconut Oil

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Directions:

- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

- Cut plantain into 1/2″ slices

- Toss plantain chips in coconut oil and spices until evenly coated

- Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through

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To make sandwiches:

Spread guacamole on half of the plantain chips and place another plantain chip on top.

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Product = Delicious Adorable Sandwiches

I found the greener the plantain the crispier the chips got, sometimes I tend to forget I have plantains and let them get too ripe, which if you do it will still work, but they tend to stay a little bit softer.

Regardless, they are tasty and make the cutest little sandwiches!

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Sometimes I add the tahini on top too. That kicks it up a notch.

So as most of my food obsessions, I have been making these almost daily.

I’ll let you know what new obsession this stems, because I’m sure it will happen.

But until then make sure you head over to Laura’s for more #strangebutgood eats.

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What are your current food obsessions?

puppy love

Gah. Loves. Monday already?

I have been way too busy for my own good. I really feel like I have no down time anymore. And when I do have down time. Well it’s not so down.

Matt has been sick the past few days, so I of course always take the mother hen approach and want to take care of him and make sure his needs are taken care of. But that’s what love is right? I have absolutely no problem doing it because I know he would do the same for me.

But since it is Monday and we all need to remember that life is marvelous, I will give you a little insight of what’s been going on lately.

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My weekend of course started with work. Even though Saturday’s are half days, I still wish I could have an actual real weekend and have both days off.  But things aren’t as bad when the doctor brings you breakfast.

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We all know this carb loving girl loves her bagels (and just in case you were wondering that’s a chocolate chip bagel, yes they exist!), and Einstein’s honey almond smear is ah-mazing. You better believe I slathered that stuff on. It made working Saturday just a bit better.

This makes work a little bit better too.

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Puppies!

Seriously puppies make everything better.

And while were on the topic of puppies, I’ve got some exciting, maybe even marvelous, news to share.

We all know I love to bake. And we all know I love my pootches. But what a lot of people don’t know is one dream I have always had is to combine the two. It has been a career dream of mine to open my own doggy bakery. I don’t know if that dream will ever come true, but I  have decided to finally take baby steps into making it happen. We all have to start somewhere and I figure since I work at an animal hospital and know a lot of people in the field, I can start by having a home business and start by making and selling treats from home through my clients and friends. We’ll see where it goes from there! I will definitely keep you guys posted. (and if you’re interested in home made dog treats made from natural ingredients, feel free to contact me!)

But before that even happens, I need to test some recipes and find the perfect treats! This weekend I finally decided to start experimenting!

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And thus my first home made dog treats were born! I started with a simple pumpkin peanut butter biscuit, but I am excited to experiment with different ingredients and recipes! Now I know they look cute, but did they pass the pup taste test?

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A curious sniff…

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And she ate it! But honestly, I’m pretty sure she would eat anything, so I don’t know how good of a judge she is, so I am going to recruit some of my friends pups for more taste testing!

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Other than that the weekend was pretty low key. Since Matt was sick we didn’t venture much out into the world, however Sunday since it was so gorgeous out, I thought it might be good for him to get out of the house for a bit. I know when I’m sick, sometimes sitting inside all day almost makes it worse.

I had some grocery shopping I needed to do, I needed to pick up some ingredients for a few recipes I will be testing from The Purely Twins new No Flour Cracker and Flatbread cookbook (be on the look out for a review in the near future!), so I dragged him with me.  I’m glad I did, because he ended up feeling a bit better. So much better on our way home we stopped by OHSO Brewery for this.

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Nothing like beer and pizza to make you feel better.

And to end our night and weekend, the whole family gathered for movie night.

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I have been wanting to see Frozen for some time now and I will say this is one movie that is worth the hype. We both really enjoyed it.

So a perfect way to end my weekend if you ask me.

But alas, it is now Monday, so back to the drawing board.

Have a wonderful week my loves.

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What made your weekend marvelous?

treating ourselves

Hey loves!

This post is coming to you much later than anticipated.

1. I am working on getting more sleep after discussing and realizing how important it is, so I not only went to bed earlier than normal, but since today is my day off, I also took advantage of sleeping in! However sleeping in to me is 7:30am, but compared to 5:00am that’s wonderful for me!

I had all the intentions of writing my What I Ate Wednesday post last night, but before passing out early, I was too busy shoving my face with this wonderfulness.

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I briefly touch on my recovery here and there and let’s just assume I am always in the need to gain.  Matt has been super supportive and really helping me push lately that he demanded we go to Dairy Queen last night since he knows I have been having stressful days at work. It seems to correlate when I am stressed at work, I am stressed with my eating and health goals, so I really appreciated him stepping up and making me keep pushing. And really. Who can say no to Dairy Queen? Not this girl.

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On top of that Matt also treated me to a fancy date night out.

Yes I eat a lot of sushi. That’s a fact.

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But to stay in our budget we usually go to a smaller sushi joint that is less expensive. The best sushi out there? No. Good for the money? Absolutely.  But when we decided we wanted sushi one night, Matt suggested we actually treat ourselves to a nicer restaurant that is in our neighborhood.

Let me tell you, I forgot what high quality sushi tasted like. It was amazing.

I started with a seaweed salad, and in first bite I noticed the difference between a freshly made seaweed salad and probably packaged seaweed salad I have been eating at the other sushi spot.

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We also got yellow tail sashimi to share and again, the difference in the quality of fish was instantly noticed. It tasted amazing. I love good fresh high quality sashimi.

We ordered four rolls to share for our main meal.

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Salmon wrapped in cucumber, fire dragon roll, special spicy roll and spicy tuna roll.

Yes. We like it spicy. And like the rest of our meal, all was fresh and delicious.

Now, our bill was probably 3x as much as what we spend at the other place, but totally worth it.

It was also great to have a nice date night out with Matt. Much needed.

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Home meals however have not been as fancy.  I have been having really long days at work and have been getting out late that by time I get home Matt has already eaten and I have no desire to cook anything fancy in my own kitchen.

Some of my quick meals.

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Avocado mash on toast. It has become a life savor for me. I am obsessed with it right now.

EPIC 100% grass fed animal based protein bars.

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It’s a quick way for me to get high quality protein in and I actually broke one up and added it on top of my avocado toast.

#strangebutgood?

Oh and since Monday was National Beer Day. I did that too.

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Beer and beards. All I need.

Well loves I hope you are all having a great week, until next time.

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What are some of your favorite quick meals?

How often do you treat yourself to nice dinners out?

why we should get more sleep

Sleep.

Such a simple concept right? You would think so. Yet I can almost guarantee most of us don’t get enough of it. We don’t think much of it, it’s just how life is. We stay up late, get up early, run around all day and wonder why we always feel so drained.

This is something I have really been struggling with lately. It seems like when I try and go to bed on time, I’m waking up every few hours with my mind racing.  Then other nights I stay up much later than I should and wake up dreadingly to the alarm clock.

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The thing most of us might not know though is how important sleep actually is and how it can affect our health. Lack of sleep is more than just feeling tired, it can also cause hormone disregulation and increased cortisol, which in the long run can lead to weight gain and just an overall yucky feeling. We feel drained, run down and crappy. It could even be said that sleep is just as important as a healthy diet. You could probably get through your day skipping a meal, but can you get through a day skipping a nights sleep? Maybe, but definitely not as easy.

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In my line of work I am constantly running around. I love my job, but the long hours and being on my feet all day definitely start to wear me out by the end of the week.

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Yes these adorable faces keep me motivated, but I can always tell a difference the day after I don’t get a good nights sleep. I feel drained, light headed and just flat out lack energy. This usually hits me around 1-2pm. It’s like running into a brick wall, I’m just all of a sudden exhausted. But even when the end of my day finally comes, the detrimental effects of being tired and under rested doesn’t end.

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There is more than just lacking energy associated with a lack of sleep. There are quite a few other health risks:

1. Cardiovascular Health Risk Lack of sleep can affect cardiovascular health. Serious sleep deprivation has been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels and irregular heartbeat.

2. Poor Immunity Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of killer cells that fight off immunity. Although it hasn’t been entirely proven, it is thought that sleep may help fight cancer.

3. Weight Gain Sleep deprivation affects the way the body stores and produces carbohydrates. This alters hormone activity, affecting appetite and causing us to crave more food.

4. Mood As we have all experienced, lack of sleep affects mood. Tiredness makes us irritable and impatient and impairs concentration and focus. This means we can’t do the things we normally enjoy doing to our full potential. Stay in this zone for too long and we become unhappy and demoralized, which subsequently impacts every aspect of our lives, including relationships, work, exercise and eating habits.

5. Accidents Those with a sleep debt are more likely to have car accidents and accidents in general. You are also more likely to make a mistake at work, which could be very serious if you are a doctor, pilot, driver or machinery operator.

(Source)

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Pretty serious stuff huh?  It actually kind of blew my mind to read so much on how sleep and stress affect our bodies as much as it does. We get so caught up thinking that diet and exercise are the only things that affect our weight and health, but it’s just not the case. Come to find out stress and sleep may play a bigger role.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to get a better nights sleep.

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(Source)

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As simple as making sure to sleep in a dark room, having a night time ritual of going to bed and getting up at the same time and reducing computer time right before bed all seem like easy changes to make. These along with other tips are things I am trying to implement in my life to ensure I get better sleep. The computer time is a big one with me. Not only will cutting back on my night time computer usage help me get a better nights sleep, but it will also give me more time for more important things that could be done with that time. Like spending time with these cuties.

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Oh and this guy is pretty cute too.

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Yea I like spending more time with him.

So in short. Sleep is important. Very important.

So let’s get to sleeping!

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Do you get enough sleep?

How can you tell when you don’t get enough?

sweet and savory #strangebutgood

I put some strange things together.

Some things I actually even surprise myself of the ingredients I even consider pairing with each other.

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chocolate cauliflower

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Does anyone remember the roasted cauliflower and chocolate mix?

I promise you this combination isn’t quite that strange, but it’s pretty high up there.

Lucky for me Laura gives me the opportunity to share my #strangebutgood eats and not feel so weird about them.

So with that being said I introduce you my latest strange combination.

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Let me explain a little bit about what is happening here.

Brown rice cakes + guacamole + banana.

I know. And to make it more strange.

1/2 is drizzled with organic clover honey.

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1/2 is drizzled with tahini.

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The tahini half won in the taste department.

But as much as I love tahini I think I would like it on pretty much anything.

So I know the combination of a savory guacamole and a sweet banana seems kind of far out there, but I promise you it works. Usually when I crave food I crave just sweet or just savory and sometimes even I’m too nervous to combine the two. But as I said before, this just works.

And if you end up making this, take my advice and add the the tahini.

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What’s your favorite sweet/savory combination?

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a second chance

Hi, my name is Debbie and I have no idea what day it is.

I seriously thought Tuesday was Sunday and really confused myself. I think I need a vacation.

But today is in fact Wednesday, but since I can’t seem to keep my days straight I totally spaced What I Ate Wednesday, so I just have a few foodie highlights to share with you guys on some of the stuff I have been snacking on lately.

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The biggest highlight was a dinner out Matt and I recently had at Blanco Tacos and Tequila.

This was a very special meal…why you ask?

It was free.

We had recently dined there and had a horrible experience and all I did was really mention to the manager how disappointed we were as we typically have very pleasant experiences there and to my surprise he offered us a free meal next time we came in.

So with drinks, appetizers, entrees and dessert all included, well Matt and I went all out.

We of course started with drinks.

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I don’t typically order sweet drinks, I really am a beer girl, but there is something about having a fresh margarita with mexican food. It’s just a must. And it really hit the spot.

Another must?

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dinner

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Guacamole.

And lots of it. I’m pretty sure I ate about half this bowl on my own. No shame. The stuff is just so good.

For our entrees I decided to branch out and try something different rather than my traditional chicken burrito. I decided to try the chicken fajitas and was blown away by the huge portion. The chicken was good, but the show stealer were the grilled onions and peppers (which I wish there had been more of).  Overall a very delicious meal. And I had tons of left overs so that was a plus as well!

Matt decided to try something new also and ordered their BBQ pulled pork tacos.  I of course had to try a bite and they were very good. Their taco’s never seem to disappoint.

After our meals we were already so full, but with dessert being on the house, well we couldn’t pass that up. We sat and talked for a bit to let some of our food digest and after being described the dessert options we decided on the mexican hot fudge sundae.

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I guess mexican hot fudge sundaes are more caramel than hot fudge, but regardless this thing was amazing.  It came with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and caramel drizzle and then topped with whipped cream and honey roasted peanuts.

As full as we were, we somehow managed to demolish this entire thing.

Whoops.

I’m pretty sure Matt and I both waddled our way out of the restaurant, but with very full and happy bellies.

Definitely a better experience than the previous one.

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So what have I been munching on at home?

Sadly nothing too exciting.

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Still obsessed with my hemp protein microwave english muffins.

Topped with butter = delish.

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And another night I topped one with Growing  Naturals protein frosting and had a side of BBQ plantain chips.

Clearly a Purely Twins inspired meal. I always made my plantain chips sweet, but when I saw their BBQ version I had to try it. Yea, don’t know if I will ever go back, because I absolutely love these!

Another thing I’m loving?

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My home made peanut butter protein banana bites. (recipe to come) I’ve been snacking on these pretty much non-stop.

Well loves, since I finally figured out what day it is, it’s back to the grind. Have a great week!

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What meals are you loving lately?

What’s your favorite dessert? As good as that sundae was I really wish there was more hot fudge. This girl loves her chocolate!

march foodie pen pal reveal

Oh loves, another month gone.

Where does the time go?

I am so consumed with work that sometimes I feel I really do not have a life. I love my job don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I really wish I had a work at home job, however on the other end of the spectrum, I feel like if I were to be home all day I would go stir crazy and just wish I could get out of the house more.  Such a double edge sword. With that being said be on the look out for a upcoming post on energy, how to have more and natural ways to get it.  I love being able to recognize issues I am having in my life, researching them, and sharing the findings with all of you, because I know I am not the only one who is probably lacking energy.

But that is for another time.  Since it is the end of one month and the start of another, I have other fun things to share with you today.

It’s Foodie Pen Pal reveal day!

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The Lean Green Bean
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Being busy hasn’t stopped me from participating in this fun little organization.  If you haven’t heard about Foodie Pen Pals, head over to Lindsay’s site and check out the details.

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This month I was paired up with Brianna from Tea With Bri.

After just a few e-mails I quickly realized we were foodie twins. We basically had the same likes/dislikes and goodie preferences. I knew she would be easy and fun to shop for.  With that being said I was very excited for what she would find for me.

Here is what she sent me.

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Local almond cookies, cranberry salsa, pumpkin seed protein, and a Pure Bliss mocha java energy bar.

Want to guess what I tried first?

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I know surprise surprise I dove straight into the cookies.

I just love the idea of local goodies and items that I can’t get by me. And are cookies ever bad? I don’t think so.

I haven’t used the pumpkin seed protein yet, but I’m excited to incorporate it into something yummy, I just need to think of something… The salsa, well you can’t tell, but I ate about 1/2 of the jar before I took pictures, so if that says anything I think you can guess I like it!

Overall a great package, thanks Brianna for everything!

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Can you believe it’s already the end of March?

What are you looking forward to in April?