october foodie pen pal reveal

Loves. I know it’s been awhile, but I’m well and alive.

Barely.

I’m telling you, getting married… it’s one of the most stressful things a person can do. Trust me, I am overly excited to marry the love of my life, but I really feel the whole wedding thing is for everyone else. If it were up to me, I would elope and be done with it. But let’s be real. I am pretty excited about my dress. But all the other hoop-lah, I can do without.

I do have a lot of goodies to share with you, but they will have to wait until I can actually sit down for more than 10 minutes.

Until then we have one thing I have to make time for.

Food Pen Pal Reveal.

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The Lean Green Bean
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Since Lindsay does such a great job at putting together this shin-dig and having a beautiful baby on top of it, it’s only fair for me to do my part and highlight the program.

This month I was paired with Christina who was new to the program! I actually really like getting paired with newbies as I hope to give them a good first time experience!

For a first timer I think Christina did great. She was great in asking me my preferences and for examples of items she should look for. I was excited to see what she was going to pick out for me.

One of the first things I will say about Christina’s package was I loved that she took the time into decorating the box. I am a sucker for personal touches.

Here is what she sent me.

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Bare Snacks Coconut Chips, Tropical Dried Fruit Mix, Van’s PB&J Bars, Falafel Chips, wild riceworks, and Tabasco mustard.

I told her I tried to eat a more gluten free based diet, loved chips/crackers, dips and healthy snacks.

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I’ve tried the falafel chips before, so I knew I was going to like those and I was very excited to try the wild riceworks crisps. I also love mustard so I was very excited about the Tabasco mustard as I love me some spice!

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I’m not a huge dried fruit person, but I will say this tropical mix looks good! I’m sure Matt will be snacking on this as well! And since I’m pretty much pb&j obsessed and have always been a fan of Van’s products, I am very excited to try these bars.

So thank you very much Christina, I hope your first foodie pen pal experience was a good one!

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What kind of snacks do you like best? Chips? Crackers? Candy?

snacks i’m loving

Hello my loves.

I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend. It’s so hard for me to concept a weekend anymore since I work every Saturday, my weekends fly by a lot quicker when I only have one day to really relax.  And not that I don’t miss him, but Matt was at a design conference all weekend, so I actually had some quiet time to myself. But I’m not going to lie, it can get a little boring.

I probably should have worked on more wedding things, as I feel like it is quickly creeping up on me, and I still have so much to do, but I took the quiet time to actually just relax and chill out. I try to keep my stress levels low, but when you finish addressing all your save the dates only to notice at the very end that there was a typo on the date and the wrong year was printed… kind of hard not to freak out a bit.

It doesn’t help that on top of it all Matt and I have both been sick for the past few days, so I haven’t had much motivation or energy to do more than lay on the couch in my spare moments.

But I did of course want to check in with you lovelies and share a few goodies.

Since I’ve been sick, my appetite has of course been a bit off. I find myself snacking a lot more as I don’t have as big of a hunger for big meals.  But I’ve never had problems with being a snacker and thankfully I have had some tasty treats showing up at the house.

When I know I need to get some energy in me and don’t have the appetite for a huge meal, nuts are always a go to for me.

Have you guys heard of Living Nutz?

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They provide raw organic nuts and seeds and they come in some really interesting flavors.  Not only do I think the fact that their products are organic are great, but the fact that they are raw and unprocessed  I think is amazing.  They explain that this keeps more nutrients and enzymes in the nuts, making them better for you. And did I mention their amazing flavors?

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I was most blown away by the Tahitian Vanilla Coco Creme Walnuts, as I love walnuts to begin with, but the exotic vanilla flavor was amazing. I ate these straight from the bag, but also topped my yogurt and ice cream with them. Such a nice sweet crunch.

The Vegan Cheezy Almonds were another favorite and these were a great addition to my salads.  Again a nice added crunch.

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Have I mentioned I love crunch? I am such a texture eater.

Speaking of crunch.

I recently reviewed the new Quest Nutrition protein chips and I am still loving those.

Perfect little protein snack and I highly recommend if you have any left over guacamole from Chipotle like I did, they go amazing together.

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But really anything covered in guacamole, especially from Chipotle, is amazing.

And while we’re on the topic of amazing, you know what else is amazing?

Winning giveaways.

I was lucky enough to win a few giveaways recently and had my prizes delivered.

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I am so excited to try these new KIND granola bars. I am a huge fan of their other bars and granola, so I’m pretty sure I will be a fan of these as well!

I also received another surprise on my door step recently.  I have worked with Enjoy Life Foods in the past in reviewing some of their products and honestly I have never been disappointed in what they make. I recently made my very first chocolate chip pumpkin bread using their dairy free mini chips ( keep an eye out for a recipe), that when this surprise package arrived I was more than excited.

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I love their seed and fruit mixes and love that their products are nut free and gluten free. A perfect snack when I need a little something in between meals. I take this to work a lot to snack on through out the day. So thank you very much to all my friends at Enjoy Life for thinking of me and sending these my way!

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What snacks have you been enjoying lately?

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do you even quark?

I know. What a lame introduction to an awesome new to me product.

I love my greek yogurt. I will admit that the tangy taste of plain greek yogurt took some getting use to, but I just adore that thick texture.

So when I heard of Elli’s Quark I was intrigued. And after reading their description on their website, I knew I would love this product.

Elli Quark is a spoonable fresh cheese with a creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt,
but with a richer, less sour taste. It also has a better protein-to-carb ratio than
Greek yogurt, with high protein and no added sugars.”

Sound’s pretty delicious right?

And if that wasn’t tempting enough, check out all the amazing flavors they offer.

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I mean seriously. Red Velvet, Sea Salt Caramel, Mint Chocolate, just to name a few. And of course some delicious classics like Blueberry, Peach and Vanilla.  I honestly didn’t know what to try first.

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I started with a classic though and tried the peach.

And as expected the texture was spot on, and I was really impressed with the chunks of peach that was in the quark.

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But really, look at that creaminess.

I will honestly say though that the flavors I thought I would enjoy the most…I didn’t. I of course was crazy excited for the red velvet and banana fosters, but found myself enjoying the peach and strawberry the best. Sometimes simplicity is better.

Overall though I was very impressed with Elli Quark and would gladly purchase it again.

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Have you heard of Quark?

What flavor would you be most excited to try?

quest nutrition chips review

So let’s start with a little honesty. I know Quest Nutrition bars are all the rave. And yes, I drool over all the Quest creations that are all over Pinterest and Instagram. But up until recently I never had the best Quest bar experience. Maybe I just had the bad luck of always getting duds, but it seemed all my Quest bars were always hard and not soft and doughy like I was seeing everyone else experience. So I won’t lie in saying that I kind of gave up on Quest bars. That was until the new Cookie’s and Cream flavor came out.

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This flavor completely changed my mind on Quest bars. I was hooked.

Proof?

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I got a whole box.

But note to self: the longer these sit the harder they get. Maybe that was my problem in the past? I was buying bars that had been sitting out awhile. I just didn’t seem to eat them quick enough and as time passed it seemed the bars got harder and harder.

So with my new found love for the Quest Bars you can imagine this snack girls excitement when she saw that Quest Nutrition was coming out with a new product.

Chips!!

I.Love.Chips.

We all know I am a huge dipper, so chips are by far one of my favorite snacks. And a chip with added protein?

Count me in.

Seriously, I got a got a bit too excited when my Quest chips showed up on my doorstep.

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And to my delight these did not disappoint.

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I broke into the cheddar & sour cream first because those are one of my favorite flavors of regular chips.

These chips basically reminded me of a baked chip, but it’s great knowing there was extra protein in these.

I wish I could say I made something fancy to dip them in, but I seriously just ate them straight out of the bag.

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My only complaint?

That the bags weren’t bigger. Seriously, this girl can demolish a bag of chips in a matter of seconds.

But with these, I didn’t have any guilt after.

So if you haven’t tried these new chips I highly recommend you do. And with my new found love for all things Quest I am anxious to try their pasta as well. Because let’s be real, who doesn’t love pasta, and if I can find a guilt free delicious pasta? Sign me up!

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Have you tried Quest’s new chips?

What’s your favorite Quest Bar flavor? Any fun recipes?

chickpea protein brownie bites

I am the master of simplicity.

Breakfast use to be my favorite time to get fancy and creative, but this was before having to be at work at 6:30am.  Now breakfast is anything that is quick and portable. Not as fancy. I do miss my beautiful oatmeal bowl creations.

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But long gone are those days.

More than likely even on my days off my breakfasts look like this.

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Peanut Butter Toast.

But I made a random genius addition of adding crumbled graham crackers on top. It was a nice added crunch and flavor.

And to be even more plain.

Bagel with Cream Cheese.

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However the fact that this was a P28 bagel and that I added Growing Naturals Vanilla Blast Pea Protein to the cream cheese took this up a notch as well. But still, pretty simple.

But then one day I got the baking bug. I don’t know why, but one night I decided to actually experiment with a recipe I had seen and prep some protein muffins for my breakfasts.

I will admit in taking them out of the oven and tasting them I wasn’t too impressed.  But after one night in the fridge, they got 100x better.

So my advice to you, if you make these, which you should, wait until the next day to eat them.

 Chickpea Protein Brownie Bites

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Ingredients

- 1/2 cup chickpeas

- 1 scoop chocolate protein (30g) (I used Designer Whey)

- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (could use pumpkin)

- 3 tablespoon liquid egg whites

- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

- 2 tablespoon almond milk

- 1 teaspoon vanilla

- sweetener to taste (I used NuNaturals liquid vanilla and cocoa syrup)

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Directions

- Drain and rinse chickpeas.

- Blend chickpeas, applesauce, egg whites and vanilla.

- Mix in remaining ingredients until well blended.

- Pour into muffin tin or brownie molds.

- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

- Let cool and eat plain or top with desired frosting. *

* As mentioned I highly recommend storing these in the fridge over night and eating the next day. Also these topped with Sweet Spreads white chocolate coconut butter was pretty much amazing. Regular peanut butter I’m sure would be equally delicious.

I love that I can just grab a few of these in the morning and be on my way. Portable breakfasts are definitely a must now. I’m also excited to play around with the flavor and use different flavor protein powders.

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What are you favorite portable meals?

Peas and Crayons

marvelous small things

Sometimes it’s the small things that can make a day marvelous.

It’s been awhile since I have linked up with Katie for her Marvelous In My Monday and with all the crazy that has been going on, I thought it might be nice to stop and recognize that sometimes it’s the small things that can make a day marvelous.

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Marvelous is when your go to pay for your Starbucks only to realize you didn’t have enough on your card for your purchase and didn’t bring any other form of payment and the man behind you so graciously offers to cover the rest of the amount. I will tell you, it made the coffee taste that much better knowing it was purchased with kindness. Will definitely have to pay it forward.

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Marvelous is when your doctor receives chocolates as a thank you gift from a client and shares it with her staff.

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Extra marvelous that they were fancy chocolates that were soooo delicious.

So delicious that I had two.

Marvelous is walking into your local Whole Foods bar to have dinner and having the bartender immediately hand you samples of the new beers they have on tap because she not only saw you walking towards the bar from down the aisle, but knows what type of beers you love and would be excited about.

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I would always continue going to Whole Foods for their delicious sushi and hot bar, but it is such an added bonus to have such great service.

Seriously. Love my bartender.

And speaking of Whole Foods…

Marvelous is wedding cake tasting!

Yes, at Whole Foods.  I love the high standards Whole Foods has on their food items and it’s no exception with their cakes. The baker kept informing us of the all natural ingredients that are used and the fact that the ingredient list is not only short, but you can recognize every ingredient used.

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He had randomly made us the spice cake because it was his seasonal favorite, but he mentioned since we were having an April wedding we may not want it… After tasting it we decided that it was going to be the top tier of the wedding cake just for the wedding party. It was one of the most delicious cakes I have ever tasted. For the other two tiers we chose chocolate cake with a chocolate butter cream frosting filling and then the bottom tier will be vanilla cake with a Chantilly frosting and raspberry compote filling.

It’s going to be amazing and delicious.

And the last small marvelous thing is actually baking and creating something delicious.

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I made a mini batch of protein chickpea brownie bites that even though the recipe may still need a little bit of tweaking, topped with Sweet Spreads coconut butter made them a kitchen success.

So my loves, sometimes its the small things that can make a day marvelous, so I hope you are able to recognize them in your life and embrace them.

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What would your dream wedding cake flavor be?

september foodie pen pal reveal

So other than my typical I can’t believe how fast time is going, but seriously this year is almost half over and the countdown to Christmas is already beginning, seriously where does time go?

Trust me I am super excited for the holiday season. And things are starting to slightly cool down here in Arizona. By slightly I mean it’s still in the 90′s, but I’ll take it.

Oh and it’s pumpkin season. I eat pumpkin pretty much all year long, but fall time delicacies like these are starting to pop up.

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I love Chobani as is, but this pumpkin flavor…

Spot On.

I actually have not been too impressed with a lot of the pumpkin flavors coming out. Yogurtland’s pumpkin frozen yogurt disappointed me, Baskin Robbins pumpkin cheesecake ice cream was a total flop, so I was a bit hesitant when trying this for the first time. But this one did not disappoint. (also the pumpkin spice cupcake I had at work was ah-mazing, but really…pumpkin spice cake…cream cheese frosting…enough said)

But with the coming of October and all things fall we have to cover one important thing first.

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Foodie Pen Pal Reveal.

The Lean Green Bean
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This month I was paired up with Trey and this is what he sent me.
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Ed’s Red hot sauce, home made strawberry fig jam and local honey.
You know me and my jam obsession and this stuff was delish.
He also sent a few items local to his area that I thought was very nice.
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Fresh sea salt, a sand dollar and a little star fish. Seriously how cute is that? I love when foodie pen pals include little things that are local to them. I haven’t been to the ocean in forever so it was really fun to get these items.
Thanks Trey!
And my fiance thanks you too, he loves the hot sauce. I made him a potato, ham, and cheese hash for breakfast one morning and took it up a notch with the new hot sauce.
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I didn’t hear any complaints.
 So again, another successful foodie pen pal experience.
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 Are you excited for fall?
What’s your favorite fall flavor? As much as I love pumpkin, I really think apple cider is my favorite seasonal item, but nothing in Arizona even compares to the fresh apple cider I got from the apple orchards back in Indiana…

i’ve come to realize…

That I may have a problem.

A sweets problem.

I was looking through my Instagram feed the other day and realized two things.

1. I eat a lot of desserts.

2. I drink a lot of beer.

Two things I really don’t have a problem with.  If anything this shows you that you can live and lead a healthy lifestyle and still indulge once in a while every night and not be obese or unhealthy. I eat healthy I would say 80% of the time and let myself enjoy all foods when the craving strikes. I will never say no to ice cream.

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Especially in the waffle bowl hot fudge sundae form.

I also will never say no to a beer.

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Especially when good company is involved.

The purpose of this post is really to show that you can live your life, honor your body, and still be healthy.

Need more proof?

Here is a snap shot into just a few days of last week.

We had a client drop of delicious little mini bundt cakes.

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I first sampled each flavor to see which was the best…

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Chocolate clearly won. I mean. It even have chocolate chips baked into it.

Later that same night Matt wanted to meet for a beer after work.

Our Whole Foods just tapped Dogfish Head’s Punkin and considering it’s my favorite pumpkin beer, who am I to say no.

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And the fact that it looked like there was a spider web in my beer made it that much more delicious.

A few days later a co-worker made her famous banana bread cake. Again, I wish I could say no but I couldn’t not have a piece of the deliciousness.

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 I’m glad I did because that day turned out to be a crazy one. It was so bad this time I requested Matt meet me for a drink. It was much needed.

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And for some reason when I get tipsy I want dessert. #sorryimnotsorry I wanted more ice cream.

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One thing I have come to learn that letting myself enjoy life and just live is so much easier and less stressful then worrying about every little thing that goes in my mouth, how it will affect my body, how I will look tomorrow, and just live in the moment and embrace the present and not worry about the future. Life is more about the experiences and memories that we make not a number on the scale or a pant size.

So with that being said I am going to continue to enjoy my ice cream and beer. And never feel guilty for it.

Cheers.

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What are your favorite indulgences?

How do you let yourself live life freely?