a wedding update and labor day celebrations

Hello my loves!

I hope you all enjoyed your Labor Day weekend and I hope you were lucky like me and actually had the day off!

I felt like even though I barely left the house, I did however get a lot accomplished. And a lot of the wedding front.

I haven’t updated much on the wedding basically because it has been stressing me out to no ends.

Not only do I feel like there is so much to do, but I am basically doing this all on my own, so it’s very stressful.  I feel like all Matt and I do is argue, whether it be about the wedding, the budget, and the lack of time we are spending together. He is working very hard on his freelance and I know he is doing it make money so we can afford this wedding, and I do not hold that against him in the slightest, however sometimes I feel he doesn’t understand why I am frustrated. I know most men are not involved in the wedding planning, which is fine, but with all my family and bridesmaids being thousands of miles away, I am basically on my own. Which can be a bit overwhelming at times. Slowly but surely though I am getting things accomplished and the wedding will be what it is.

(I have my location and dress so really what else matters, let’s be real)

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But I digress.

One thing planning a wedding is showing me though are the effects of stress and our health.

Before I started planning the wedding I was actually noticing great improvements with my health, mood and energy levels.

I briefly mentioned I was trying to cut some gluten and dairy out of my diet to see if I was having any food sensitivities.  I have not gone completely gluten or dairy free, but I have cut back on certain food items that I do believe I was reacting to. I can not even begin to describe the difference I felt!

But let me tell you, with the whole wedding planning process, I have really started to notice the effects that stress is putting on my body.

I feel like I am always tired regardless of how much I sleep, I am moody, irritable and just honestly emotionally worn out.

This really doesn’t come as a surprise to me though. I have been listening to a lot of health and nutrition podcasts and almost all of them will tell you that in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle that the most important things sometimes are not diet and exercise, but sleep and stress. You can eat the cleanest diet, exercise daily, but if you are not getting enough sleep and are always stressed out, it will counteract all of that.

So I am working on de-stressing, taking everything day by day, and trusting the process. Everything will get done and the day will be the best day of my life, not because of the wedding location, decorations, or party favors, but the fact that I will be married to the love of my life and best friend.

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So with that being said let’s move on to more good things!

I know the traditional Labor Day celebration are BBQs, cookouts and parades, but not in our household.

We actually spent more the day inside, Matt working on freelance work and me on wedding stuff.  I actually feel like I got a lot accomplished and didn’t stress out. Woo-Hoo!

We started our day off by going to one our favorite coffee spots Buzz Berry, but instead of getting our typical Americano’s we decided to get a little crazy.

I still ordered an iced Americano, but spiked with in house made Kahlua. Matt ordered a bloody mary.

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They were both delish and a great start to the day.

However, drinking on an empty stomach.

Well you end up with pictures like this.

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I was very entertained with myself.

As mentioned we spent the majority of the day both working on our own projects.  We had made plans for dinner as Fox Restaurant Concepts always sends out coupons for these small holidays.  Matt and I have kind of made it a little tradition to go when we get them since we love basically all of their restaurants. Last year we went to Blanco’s Tacos and Tequilla so we decided to keep with it and go again this year! Because really, on Labor Day, you get Mexican food.

We of course started with margarita’s.

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And guacamole is always mandatory.

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Their guacamole is so delicious, there are seriously like whole chunks of avocado in there. I could seriously eat this whole bowl with a spoon no problem. But I restrained. Had to save room for my meal.

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I debated in between the salmon salad, chicken fajitas, or chicken burrito. I knew all three wouldn’t disappoint, but the salmon was so good the last time I got it, I just had to get it again. Good salmon I feel is hard to find sometimes.

Matt went with grilled fish tacos. Always a good choice.

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We actually went to a different location as we had initial plans to stop by Baskin Robbins on the way home because I had gotten an e-mail alert that they released a new Pumpkin Cheesecake flavor, but while walking to the restaurant we walked past a new to us gelato spot called Frost Gelato that looked pretty tempting.  There ended up being a little bit of a wait to get a table, so while we waited we walked over and sampled a few flavors. They were all amazing, so our dessert plans quickly changed and we decided we would just come back after dinner.

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So glad we did.

 After trying almost every single flavor I decided to go with the Strawberry Yogurt.

Which even though it may be a bit confusing, is was still gelato, just a strawberry “yogurt” flavor. Regardless, it was delicious with big chunks of strawberries in it.

 Overall even though it wasn’t too eventful of a day in terms of activities, it was a very productive day that ended with a lovely meal with my love. And for once we had a wedding conversation without a fight.

So loves, I hope you all had a relaxing stress free weekend. And if things do get stressful, just remember to breath, take one day at a time, and all with work out.

Now if I could only take my own advice.

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How do you reduce stress in your life?

What were your Labor Day activities? Traditional? Non Traditional?

 

sweet treats

Two posts, two days in a row?

Who am I?

This week I actually got two days off, (in a row none the less!!) so I had some extra time to actually sit and write some posts.

Don’t get use to it though ;)

But since I did have the time and it’s been awhile since I have done a What I Ate Wednesday, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity!

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Matt and I have been making a habit of having morning coffee together. Usually we just run down to a coffee shop right around the corner, hang out for a few minutes before I have to rush off to work.

Since I was off from work, I actually had more time to hang with him and we decided to go to a local coffee shop that allows dogs inside. Delilah was very excited to come with and even got a home made treat!

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Coffee with two of my favorites is a great start to my day!

I then got a little fancy with breakfast.

Ok that is a total lie. It may look a little more fancy, but there was absolutely nothing home made about it.

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I guess I wanted dessert for breakfast, but to me that is never a bad thing.

I took a Van’s gluten free waffle and topped it with a scoop of the new Arctic Zero Coconut ice cream and then drizzled NuStevia Cocoa Syrup on top.  It was pretty amazing.

Dinner’s have been fun too thanks to my new spiralizer. I am loving this thing!

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I am basically spiralizing every and any vegetable I have in the fridge!

I  saute them with a little Braggs Liquid Aminos and top it with nutritional yeast and it is such an easy, delicious side.

And don’t think I got sick of ice cream by having it for breakfast.

Pssh. Do you know who I am.

Matt and I have been wanting to go to a ice cream parlor called Slickables that is known for their ice cream sandwiches. Basically you can choose any of their freshly made cookies (flavors including red velvet, mint chocolate chip, peanut butter, snickerdoodle, white chocolate macadamia nut…) and then you choose your ice cream flavor (butter pecan, rocky road, strawberry cheesecake, mint chocolate chip, cookie dough…) Seriously too many choices for this indecisive girl. I of course tried almost every ice cream flavor before settling on a all time favorite.

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For my creation I chose one regular chocolate chip cookie and one mint chocolate chip cookie filled with mint chocolate chip ice cream. This thing was ah-mazing.
I wish it wasn’t so far away from us, or maybe that’s a good thing, because with the endless amounts of flavor combinations you can make I would be totally fine with eating one of these every night. Oh and the best part? They’re only $2.00!! Seriously unheard of these days considering my fro-yo cups cost me about $6.00.

Well loves I hope you all are enjoying your week.

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What kind of ice cream sandwich would you create?

oodles of zoodles

Oh hello my loves!

Just popping in to let you know I am still alive!

As much as I love blogging, gone are the days where I have the extra time, or really the motivation to spend creating and experimenting in the kitchen. Trust me, I still love creating healthy new dishes and it does still happen, but I just don’t have the time to actually spend a whole day experimenting in the kitchen. Trust me, I miss it.

But I do still have the time to share fun and exciting new products I have been using and updates on my daily happenings.

Let’s start with a new toy that I recently got!

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I have seen oodles of zoodles all over Instagram and finally decided to cave and get a spiralizer! Now, I will disclose I have nothing against real pasta or carbs and did not get this to replace all my noodles with zoodles. Let’s be real nothing replaces good ole pasta. But I also love my veggies and thought this would be a fun way to get more creative. And I love kitchen gadgets.

I know you can spiralize endless veggies, but I started with the standard zucchini.

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I wasn’t aware I had multiple blades so I used the one that was already assembled. So my first zoodles were ribbons, which was fine with me because I had a little bit too much fun making them!! Matt and I even made a silly video. Yes. I’m that lame. #noshame

I made the mistake of going to Pinterest to look for recipe ideas. Gah, there were so many I wanted to make. But I ended up just making one of my favorite spicy peanut sauces and used that as my first dish.

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Mmmm spicy peanut zoodle goodness.

The only down side to these were they are literally one continuous string. Next time I think I will cut it up into smaller pieces. That’s probably what most people do anyways right? I’m new to this, bear with me…

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But I will say I am already having a blast with my new toy and I know more delicious spiralized dishes are in my future.

But I must admit that’s the majority of the home made goodness that’s been going on.

And don’t worry, my sweet tooth is still going strong.

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Along with my indecisiveness. Let me take this opportunity to express my appreciation for good service.

Matt and I went to TCBY and I could not decide what I wanted. I tried I think every flavor, and the girl was so awesome and patient with me. Then she made the amazing suggestion to get both soft serve and ice cream in a waffle cone since I couldn’t decide between the two.

I proclaimed I can do that?? And she responded you can do whatever you want.

So this cone was not only delicious, but the experience was great as well.

Seriously, good customer service is hard to find, so when I find it I really appreciate it.

How sweet.

Well loves I hope you are all having a great week and stay posted for more spiralized deliciousness.

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What would you spiralize if you had a spiralizer?

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not so typical

Ugh. I feel like I am so far behind.

I really want to give you an update on Matt’s birthday celebrations, but I still have yet to share my Fourth of July celebrations.

Whoa is the life of I have way too much going on.

So we will save the recap of Matt’s birthday celebrations till a later date and I will share my deliciousness that happened on our Independence Day.

As if we could ever have a standard American celebration.
We started off okay with of course enjoying a few cold ones.

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We decided to venture out this year and go downtown to watch the fireworks, but knew it would be crazy so we headed down early to avoid the traffic. Which left us time for a few brewskies and dinner.

So we of course had the typical American dinner.

Sushi.

I can’t help it, I crave it all the time.

There was only one sushi restaurant in walking distance and we had been to it once before and weren’t impressed, so we really didn’t have high expectations, but that tells you how bad I wanted sushi.

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I’m glad we decided to give it another chance, because everything we ordered this time was great.

Matt was in the go all out mood, so that is what we did.

Yellowtail sashimi and edamame to start.

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Tuna tataki and a spicy tuna roll for Matt.

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Salmon asparagus roll for me.

It may not be your typical burgers and hotdogs (however I would not have been opposed to that!) but it was delicious none the less.

After dinner we still had some time to kill before the fireworks, so we headed to a favorite Irish pub and had another drink.

- insert un-pictured Guinness (I know, again – soooo American) -

Then finally time for fireworks!

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We had quite the adventure getting home after the fireworks.  Let’s just say it took about 2 hours and walking about 3 miles before we finally got a ride home, but we made it!

So your typical Fourth of July? Nope. But would you expect any less from me?

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Did you have a typical Fourth of July?


cinnamon flax seed wraps

Hey loves! I hope your week is treating you well.

Even though it’s only been two days, mine has been a bit challenging.

I don’t talk much about diets on the blog because, well I don’t follow one.

I don’t label myself as a vegan, vegetarian, paleo etc.  I actually don’t believe in labels. What I believe in is eating a whole food, healthy, balanced diet. So if one day I want ice cream, pizza, cookies… I’ll have them. If one day I crave fruit and vegetables… I’ll have them.

Yes I try to lead an overall healthy lifestyle, but to me a healthy lifestyle is balance, honoring our bodies and listening to our cravings.  Never restricting.

With that being said, this is why my week has been a bit challenging.

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I have been having a lot of issues lately with bloating, gas and stomach discomfort. It has kind of always been there, but as of lately it was getting worse. I discussed all my symptoms with my nutritionist and she suggested a few things that she thought could be the issue.

Gluten Intolerance.

Dairy Intolerance.

Or FODMAP sensitivities.

Awesome. Because guess what. I love bread. I love dairy. I love FODMAP containing fruits and vegetables.

(Not sure what FODMAP’s are? Check out this great post for more information)

So what’s a girl to do?

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Experiment and see if she can find the answer.

So that’s what I’m doing.

I can’t say I’m doing a extremely strict elimination diet, but I am making a very big effort to cut most gluten out of my diet and watch my dairy and FODMAP containing foods consumption.

It’s hard. I’m not going to lie.

However, Matt was very supportive and took me shopping which got me kind of excited about having to make the effort to make new meals.

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So I stocked up on some gluten free goodies and of course took to Pinterest to find some gluten free recipes.

One of the first things I looked for was some sort of wrap/tortilla. (this was before I purchased the brown rice tortillas)

I wanted something simple, and found a great idea for a flax seed wrap. I of course tweaked it and made it my own and was pleasantly surprised how well they turned out!

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 Cinnamon Flax Wraps

(paleo and gluten free)

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Ingredients

- 2 tbsp ground flax seed

- 8 tbsp liquid egg whites

- 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

- 5-7 drops liquid stevia (optional)

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Directions:

- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes until mixture is thick

- Heat a greased pan with coconut oil (or spray)

- Pour batter in pan and swirl mixture to cook like crepes/pancakes

- Fill with whatever fillings you desire

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I filled mine with Plant Fusion Phood Chocolate Caramel protein frosting and frozen banana’s and then drizzled it with Click Mocha protein.

I made my wraps the night before and stored them in the fridge overnight which I think helped them stay pretty pliable and didn’t break when folded.

I think I may make a bigger batch of these to have ready when my wrap cravings kick in.

I really am liking trying to find more unique ways to cure my bread cravings and after trying a few gluten free products, I am more determined to just make my own. Not only are gluten free products twice as expensive as regular products, some of them just flat out don’t taste good. Also it’s just more fun to make your own and experiment!

 Hopefully I don’t have a full out gluten, dairy or FODMAP intolerance, but until this elimination diet is over, I’ll be making some changes.

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Are you gluten or dairy intolerant?

How did you find out? How do you avoid it?


coconut mocha energy bites

Ohhh Wednesday.
What a tease. Not quite the beginning of the week, but not yet the end.

However, I have been so tired lately it really doesn’t matter day of the week it is. I’m still tired regardless.

So what’s a girl to do when she has no energy?

Make protein energy bites of course!

And thankfully I have my favorite protein powders there to help the cause.

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Coconut Mocha Energy Bites

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Ingredients:

- 102g combined Drink Click Mocha protein powder + Growing Naturals chocolate rice protein powder (or proteins of choice)

- 3/4 cup almond flour

- 2 tbsp banana flour (or coconut flour)

- 1 tsp baking soda

- 2 tbsp coconut butter (I used Sweet Spreads Vanilla Cupcake)

- 1 tbsp honey

- 15-20 drops coconut stevia

1/4 cup vanilla almond milk (or coconut milk)

- more protein powder or cocoa powder for dusting

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Directions:

- Whisk together dry ingredients until there are no lumps

- Add in your wet ingredients

- Mix until well incorporated and dough is formed

- Roll into desired sized balls

- Roll balls in protein powder or cocoa powder (or other desired toppings)

- Store in sealed tupperware in refrigerator

Makes approximately 18-20 balls depending on size

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These make a great pre or post work out snack. I sometimes grab a few while heading out the door to work before I have my actual breakfast. I love using the Click protein as it has the added caffeine for a nice energy boost. And I love the mocha flavor in the bites themselves.

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And let’s be honest, I need all the energy help I can get.

So loves, if you find yourself needing some help in the energy department as well, these little bites might be the answer.

Or at least help a little bit, and if not, they at least taste delicious. So it’s really a win win situation.

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How do you stay energized through out the day?


banana coconut protein pancakes

Ok loves, get excited. Because I am.

 I  have not one, but two delicious recipes to share with you.

I know I have mentioned numerous times that my cooking mojo has somewhat disappeared, but for some reason this weekend while Matt was still sleeping away, I decided to use that quiet time and cook.

And did it ever pay off.

I have always said I wasn’t a huge pancake fan. If you know me you know I love my waffles.

It just seemed every time I tried to make pancakes, they just didn’t turn out so stellar.

This may be because this protein powder queen always insisted on using protein powders in her recipes and wondering why things didn’t turn out fluffy and normal.

Well as much as I love cooking with protein powders, and have no intentions on stopping, sometimes you just have to go with common sense and do what works.

But before we get to that, I actually do have a recipe using protein powder that even though it wasn’t texturally normal, it sure did taste good.

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Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup chickpea flour (could sub gluten free flour, almond flour or oat flour)

- 2 tbsp oat flour

- 3 tbsp chocolate protein powder (I used Plant Fusion – Phood chocolate caramel)

- 1/4 tsp baking powder

- 1/3 cup pure pumpkin puree

- 3 tbsp liquid egg whites (or 1 large egg white)

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Directions:

- Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until well sifted.

- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until there are no lumps. (batter will be thick)

- Heat skillet on medium heat and spray with cooking spray.

- Pour batter in batches and cook for 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

- Top with your choice of toppings.

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I topped mine with a Click mocha protein frosting, coconut shreds and a local granola mix.

Like I mentioned these were not your fluffy pancakes, they were a bit more “rubbery” as most of my protein baking tends to be, but the taste totally made up for that and I actually don’t mind that cakey texture.

If you’re looking for a more traditional pancake that is lower carb and high in protein, then this next recipe is for you.

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently discovered banana flour.

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In trying to think of what to use it in first, I thought it would be a great substitute for coconut flour, and I had been wanting to make a coconut flour pancake, so I decided to go with that!

In order to get it high protein without the powder I knew what I had to do.

Add eggs.

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Ingredients:

- 1 large egg

- 2 egg whites (or 6 tbsp liquid egg whites)

- 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)

- 4 1/2 tbsp banana flour (could sub coconut or almond flour)

- 1/2 tsp baking soda

- 1 tsp cinnamon

- 1 tsp vanilla extract

- 8-10 drops liquid coconut stevia (could sub vanilla or other sweetener of choice)

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 Directions:

- Place all ingredients in a magic bullet and blend until smooth.

- Heat skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.

- Pour batter in batches – cook for 3-4 minutes (or until bubbles form) on one side.

- Flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

- Top with whatever toppings you prefer!

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I topped mine with a coconut spiked greek yogurt and granola.

Guys. I can’t even describe how excited I was to make a fluffy pancake. Who would have known using eggs would cause this.

Oh wait. A lot of people.

Since I am not a huge egg fan, I don’t typically have eggs in the house, which is why I think I always try to find recipes that don’t use them, but I had a client give me fresh eggs from her own chickens, so I was looking for things to make with them.

I have a feeling the rest of the them will be going to making pancakes.

Because seriously. That fluff.

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The great thing about these recipes is it makes left overs. And I will say the banana coconut pancakes are excellent both warmed up and straight from the fridge!

So am I a total pancake convert? That is still to be decided.

But I think it’s safe to say there is room for both pancakes and waffles in my life.

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 Do you prefer pancakes or waffles?

Have you had a successful fluffy protein powder baking recipe?

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free gifts for you!

 Hey friends!

Wednesday kind of snuck up on me, but that is probably due to having Monday off. I’m not really complaining though because it was reeeaaallly nice having two days off in a row. I will never complain about that.

I must admit that my eats have either been take out/dine out or really lazy.

Lately I’ve been obsessed with some classics as well. An age old classic.

Peanut Butter and Jelly.

But not just any peanut butter.

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Have you guys heard of My Oatmeal?

It is this awesome site that basically lets you build your own oatmeal and peanut butter flour blends. It’s pretty amazing.

I of course opted for the peanut butter flour blends, because let’s be real, I love peanut butter. And I figured I could bake with it as well.

Head over to the site to check out all the oatmeal creation options though, it’s pretty intense. You get to choose your base like rolled oats, steel cut oats or a blended mix. You can add chia seeds, flax seeds, dried fruit and flavor it with almost any flavor combination imaginable.

For my peanut flour I made a carrot cake flavor sweetened with brown cane sugar.

And it was just as good as it sounds.

Another flavor I created was with a glazed donut flavoring sweetened with brown cane sugar.

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Another fun thing is you can name your blends whatever you choose! Fresh Out Of The Oven sounded cute for a donut right?

I thought so.

I used this one to help save my plantain waffle fail.

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It worked. I have yet to master a plantain waffle, but I think I just need to give in, stop making it so complicated and go the whole plantain+egg route and keep it simple. But even as a visual textural fail, with the addition of my peanut butter, it was still delish.

To continue the waffle talk though, I did manage to make a protein waffle success.

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Topped with banana slices, cocoa paradise mix (from my Graze box – use my code R4WFVPTWP and you get your first box for FREE!) and my favorite protein frosting using Growing Naturals Vanilla Pea Protein.

I love waffles.

Well loves that’s all that’s happening over here, have a wonderful rest of your week.

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What are you favorite add in’s for oatmeal?

Do you have a perfect waffle recipe?

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