Giveaway

Teas, Tweets, Chocolate, And Sweets

Posted on April 1, 2010. Filed under: Book Review, Daily Update, Giveaway | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Despite the order of this rhythmic post title, I’ll start with chocolate and save the tea for last 😀

Newman's Own Organic Orange Dark Chocolate

Newman's Own Organic Orange Dark Chocolate

Last night I was feeling like a chocolate snob and debating between which brand of orange dark chocolate to have; yes, I do that. In the end, I went with Newman’s Own Organic Orange Dark Chocolate not just because it’s organic but because it has a sweeter flavor from a higher sugar content. OK, enough chocolate talk. That prompted the tweet,

EvanFMFF: I want to go on an all-organic chocolate diet so that when I get fat from it I can say “yeah, but it’s organic fat”.

It was a joke (sort of :-D) but I loved the responses so much I had to share. Some bloggers wanted to join in; could I be more popular than the cookie diet? Other bloggers were their witty selves:

RunEatRepeat: @EvanFMFF and when you die all that organic fat will be like feeding the soil in a good way 🙂

which reminded me of something I want to share from the Today Show: sewage waste is not only permitted, but used in non-organic produce fertilizing. Uhh, ew! I don’t always or even often eat organic produce but these are the kinds of things I’d rather not know because it makes me want to. And, lastly, some bloggers made a knowledgeable and poignant tweet:

CandidRD: @EvanFMFF Sadly people really do think organic and “natural” foods are ALL healthy. HA!

That’s a good reminder that just because you shop at Whole Foods doesn’t mean you can’t go wrong, or at least be picking up things that are still “sometimes” treats rather than good-for-you diet staples.

Jokerz Candy Bar

Jokerz Candy Bar

For instance, Go Max Go Foods Jokerz candy bars. Not USDA organic,  and not a diet staple by any means. But one a week won’t kill you 😉 Just maybe your wallet.

Teeccino Mocha Herbal Coffee

Teeccino Mocha Herbal Coffee

This morning I slept in in hopes of a sunny outdoors run later on this morning; let’s see what the sun has to say about that. Instead of coffee, I thought I’d opt for mocha herbal teeccino instead so as to not dehydrate myself. It doesn’t really taste like coffee, but it’s nice beverage to have around if you need to feel April Fooled into drinking the real java. It’s better because it’s non-acidic. If it were the only type of coffee I kept around, I probably wouldn’t notice missing the “real” thing.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Honey Maple PB, Cacao Coconut Yogurt With Coconut PB

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Honey Maple PB, Cacao Coconut Yogurt With Coconut PB

Cacao Maca Coconut Yogurt With Coconut Peanut Butter

Cacao Maca Coconut Yogurt With Coconut Peanut Butter

Ahh, pumpkin oats, my voluminous friend, where have you been these past few days? 🙂 There was some pumpkin oatmeal with honey maple protein peanut butter, but the real story was in the yogurt. I mixed a plain So Delicious coconut milk yogurt with 2 tablespoons Navitas Naturals‘ twister powder(cacao, maca, and hemp) and topped that with some Tropical Traditions coconut peanut butter. Coconutty? I think so. The peanut butter was a little stiff on the yogurt and might have been overkill, but at least it was tasty overkill.

Sweet Utopia

Sweet Utopia

Rick from Book Publishing Co. offered to send me a book for review and share my opinions on. Sweet Utopia by Sharon Valencik is a book devoted to vegan desserts; how perfect does that sound? Desserts are something I’ve always had trouble “veganizing” myself so I can’t wait to see what she has to teach me and how much I can take away. For the month of April and possibly May, I’ll be flipping through the book, picking up tips, and trying out recipes. In the end, I’ll give a comprehensive review and hopefully if I end up loving it I can suggest it to you all! Sound fun?

Last but not least, the winner of the Celestial Tea Wellness giveaway as chosen by random lot is Angela! Congrats to her and happy sipping 🙂

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Determination And Wellness

Posted on March 26, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Giveaway | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I apologize for the absurd length of this post. If it’s any consolation, I’m the one who actually had to write it 😉 And there’s a giveaway at the end, so hold tight.

Sunridge Organic Jolly Beans

Sunridge Organic Jolly Beans

I was eager to get a run in before lunch today, though apparently running didn’t feel the same way about me 😦 I pushed through 3.33 miles at the gym before just wanting to give up; I felt like I was running on empty. That was one option. The other was to get some quick carbs in me, finish the 10 miles I had planned, and worry about refueling afterwards. I’m stubborn and determined if nothing else. I ran back to my dorm, grabbed a handful of organic jolly beans, and got back on that horse treadmill.

10 Miles In 1:29:04

10 Miles In 1:29:04

I managed to finish the 10 miles in 1:29:04. It was a pretty difficult run as they come in all respects, but I’m just glad I pushed through. I’m trying to adjust to running at different times like mid-morning for my half but clearly my body would prefer I get up and going at 7. If nothing else, I got to see this segment of the Today Show which pretty much sums me up and how I grocery shop. 100% natural on products means nothing, but unless you’re determined to pay for the organic seal then you have to read the ingredients. And organic chicken legs?! What was up with those? After a quick 5-minute shower, I was ready for a lunch meeting.

Chilled Salmon Salad With Citrus Fruit And Vinagrette

Chilled Salmon Salad With Citrus Fruit And Vinagrette

My gym friend, the res life dean, invited me to lunch to get to know each other off the treadmill. I was excited to see the ins and outs of the faculty club, which had an amazing selection including a chicken, maple, and walnut salad that had my mouth drooling. But since it is a Friday in Lent I kept it kosher(so to speak) and went with the chilled citrus salmon salad, which had grapefruit, mandarin orange slices, and a citrus vinagrette. I loved the mandarin orange here; it was so nice and flavorful! It made things seem like Spring, even though it was snowing this morning.

Red Delicious Apple

Red Delicious Apple

Vivani 72% Dark Chocolate

Vivani 72% Dark Chocolate

When I got back to my room, I made a quick dessert of an apple and some Vivani 72% dark chocolate. With just 3 ingredients, this chocolate is a dream and perfectly sweet. It’s even better ingredient-wise than my favorite dark chocolate(Sorry, Endangered Species, but clearly you don’t need soy lecithin to make something solid).

Chickpea And Raw Cheese Salad Over Dressed Spinach

Chickpea And Raw Cheese Salad Over Dressed Spinach

An hour later, I was pretty famished. It wasn’t even snackish-hunger, but I was ready for a meal. Since I was going to have chickpeas for dinner, why not 2 and 1/2 hours early? I made a salad of chickpeas with Next Generation Dairy Organic Garlic Parsley Cheddar Raw & Probiotic Cheese. The spinach I dressed with some Foods Alive Hemp Oil Sweet & Sassy Dressing, all of which was deliciously sweet. I could definitely be happy eating chickpeas every day if I kept that many cans in stock.

Apple

Apple

In the afternoon, I braved the cold temperatures(seriously, New England, don’t you know it’s almost April?) to get some food from the dining hall and Tedeschi. While I was out, I snacked on an apple, and then forgot to take back more for my dorm. Drats! Good thing I’ll be going home tomorrow.

Tuna Salad With Chili Lime Cashews, Broccoli With Honey And Sunflower Seeds

Tuna Salad With Chili Lime Cashews, Broccoli With Honey And Sunflower Seeds

2 apples, a crap load of greens, and 3 meals later, I just might be full. I think this day easily makes up for those when all I’ve eaten has been chocolate. I mixed a can of tuna with the remainder of some Voskos plain-non fat yogurt and topped it with chili lime Yumnuts; I think I’ve become officially obsessed with that combination since I ate it last Friday on a picnic with a friend. On some steamed broccoli I added sunflower seeds and a drizzle of honey–love that crunch!

Instead of bore you with more food-food and not desserts, I’ll launch my Wellness Giveaway. First, here’s a recap of all the mental health tips from the week.

Me-Time

Everyday, especially those at rough or difficult times, make sure you have an activity 20-60 minutes to spend on you. Treat yourself or just enjoy alone time. In the end, you’ll be grateful for those moments and you’ll realize that that’s not thatmuch “time lost” in the grand scheme of things; in fact, it’s time gained.

Stress Sleep

First up, I’m not saying sleep like you’re stressed. I’m telling you to put stress on sleep. That’s the best thing you can do for your mental health at a time when you might otherwise be distracted. We’ve all been there: Too much to do and the first thing you’re willing to sacrifice is sleep. But that’s not the answer. In fact, in times when we just need clarity, sleep can be the most beneficial thing for us and boost brain power and concentration in our waking hours. It also helps to “normalize” hunger cues. Despite a 6:15 wake-up call, I prioritized and managed 7 and 1/2 hours of sleep last night to be a sharp thinker for my tests. Between 7 and 8 hours is the recommended amount, but this varies slightly between person to person.

Declutter

I could not imagine leaving my room with an unmade bed. Hell, I couldn’t imagine being around with an unmade bed, dirty dishes, unorganized pile of papers–you name it. My point is not to make your bed, however; I don’t even do this at home when I spend almost no time in my room. My point is to declutter the area you spend the most time focusing. It’s a fact that if you only look at mess, you’ll only feel like a mess and stress out. Keeping a work area neat and tidy is the most important thing not just for organization but also mental health.

To-Do Lists

I want to talk about how to work! While we could try to juggle everything in our mind, why? All that remembering and forgetting easily adds stress. The first step is to put it down in writing. I use Google Tasks because it goes wherever I go, and I can have different lists for everything from blog stuff, to television shows I need to watch online, to my grocery list, etc. And my favorite mental booster is to cross off–not erase–tasks gone by; seeing things with a strike through them will remind you of what you’ve done and make you feel more accomplished.

Meal Planning

This is the happy union of being a foodie and doing things for your mental health: meal planning. I know it’s something a lot of other bloggers are passionate about. The 1 week we did it for my family back in January, I remember meals being the last thing on my mind all week, which was such a comfort. Now that I have such a small refrigerator to work with and so less options, I don’t keep up the practice. But I do keep meals in mind, and usually am able to plan at the very least 3-4 hours ahead.

Don’t Sweat It

Sweat during your workout? Definitely. But one of the best things you can do for mental health is not stress what you do not control. Some people find this through acceptance; some people find it through a higher power. Whichever way is right for you, it’s important to recognize there are some things in life we don’t choose but we can prepare for.

Keep Your Eye On The Reward

Sometimes, when you’re leading a tough time, it’s best to keep your head up and eyes focused on what’s at the end of the tunnel rather than your present situation. It may sound like it was on a whim, but really I had that trip to Juniper planned all week long. At the very least, it gave me something fun and different to look forward to as a “reward” for a potentially stressful week. It doesn’t have to be food. It doesn’t even have to cost money. But doing something for yourself special or out of the ordinary is a great way to keep your mind in a healthy place.

Now for the giveaway. One lucky winner will receive the Celestial Seasonings Natural Wellness Kit. I got 6 teas to keep me healthy and sane this week, all of which will be given review pages in due time. My favorite so far is actually the honey vanilla, which I wasn’t sent but found in the store and bought myself. I like how most of their teas are caffeine free, because herbal wellness doesn’t have to come with a big dose of caffeine and a crash later on.  The kit itself includes:

  • Four wellness teas to ease  symptoms associated with the cold and flu including Sleepytime Extra, Echinacea Complete Care and Tummy Mint
  • Two green teas to support a healthy immune system year round – Authentic Green Tea and Honey Lemon Ginseng Green Tea
  • Mug, soothing lip balm, honey sticks and Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Bear and the book “Herbs for Health and Happiness” by Celestial Seasonings founder Mo Siegel and Nancy Burke

Do you need some wellness in your life? There are plenty of ways to enter, just be sure to leave a separate comment for each one to make sure it counts. Answer/do any of the following:

  • Which of these tips did you find most helpful? How did you incorporate it into your life this week?
  • Which flavor from the wellness kit or Celestial Seasonings website most appeals to you?
  • Tweet this contest, saying “FoodMakesFunFuel is having a Celestial Tea giveaway http://tinyurl.com/ykub24n @EvanFMFF” and leave your Twitter name.
  • Blog about this contest and leave a link to the post.

That’s 4 possible entries to rack up. The contest will run through the end of March and I’ll announce the winner April 1st. Good luck!

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Catch Up, Run, Devour!

Posted on February 15, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Giveaway, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Things I need to do more often: Relax! But that’s not happening now, so let’s get into it.

Tips To Save

I’ve been wanting to bring this one up for a while. I get asked a lot “How do you save money on groceries?”. My answer is that there are tons of ways! You just need to tap into them!

Proteins

1. Buy off-brand and do it yourself! These are two biggies anyone can do. If you trust a store brand, it’ll often be cheaper than the name ones. I buy a lot of Trader Joe products, which are almost a dollar off their competitors at normal price. I also try to buy the raw ingredients rather than premade/seasoned, which are always more expensive. And the best thing you can do is simply cook for yourself! You’ll save a lot more if you buy proteins and cook them than if you order them out.

If you’re asking yourself “what’s he going to do with a pound of beef in a dorm room?” I’m thinking the same question :-/

Yogurts

Yes, I do acknowledge my yogurt obsession, but this brings up 2 more tips.

2. Follow your favorite brands on Twitter. It sounds weird, but by doing this I won 12 Chobani in one of their contests, and you could too! It’s a great way to connect with your favorite brands. I tweet @So_Delicious all the time, and while it hasn’t won me anything so far, it’s really fun!

3. Store sales and coupons! I’m sure we all had mothers who sat at the table clipping coupons and reading circulars until the cows came home, right? Well, turns out she had a point! If you check, you’re favorite foods(like Oikos) just might be cheaper this week. And if you pair a $1 Oikos sale with a $1 off Oikos coupon from the circulars, that’s a freebie right there!

Groceries

4. Fan Your Favorite Companies. Similar to tweeting, email and Facebook are two great ways to stay up to date with your favorite company, and they often help you right back! In this picture, I managed a free bag of Popchips because I get their e-newsletters, and 2 free Nature’s Path products because I won a fan contest on Facebook by being their friend. It does pay to be friendly!

I hope that has enlightened or at least amused you. Personally, I loooove seeing other’s groceries 🙂

Almost Empty Smart Balance Peanut Butter

While I was home yesterday, I grabbed this out of our pantry. Who takes almost empty things just to use them once and throw them away? Apparently, me!

Pumpkin Oats In A Jar With Chocolate Chips, Vanilla Greek Yogurt

I also seriously felt like I needed protein, since I had so little all day. I added an Oikos in to put my mind at ease. Does anyone else make the oats in a bowl, and then add them to the jar? I just don’t really trust microwaving that plastic for 2 minutes. Also, for good measure, there was Trader Joe’s chocolate chips involved. There always are 🙂

Last night I could not sleep for the life of me. I think the attendant at McDonalds gave me real coffee instead of decaf at 6pm, which threw me off for the night! I tried to get sleepy; I shut down everything but the TV at 10. But then 11 rolled around, and I was up. And then 11:30. Finally, I had a snack.

Nature's Path Pumpkin N' Spice Chewy Granola Bar

I’m not saying something as carby as this bar is good at 11:30 when you can’t sleep. But it did hit a certain spot, and was free because of the Nature’s Path Facebook coupon, so left me with good conscious. The flavor reminded me of anything and everything toted as “frosted” from my childhood. And I was a little disappointed that even the seeds weren’t hard anymore but rather chewy. Anyway, I don’t think I actually fell asleep until after 12:30, which definitely P.ed me O, if only because there’s so much I could have done with that amount of time, and I knew I had a long run in the morning.

10 Miles in 89:51

I’ll start with what matters: I did it! Woohoo! The first time I hit 10 miles on the treadmill I remember needing a movie to keep me going. Well, this time I had The Today Show. I tried to get their early to dominate the TV’s but most of the ‘mills were taken by 7am! Let the competition begin. I felt a little lagging half way through, but then a gym friend showed up, and we talked about the opening ceremonies and not being able to be awake for the whole thing, haha. The time was a little slower than I’d like–a 9:00min/mile pace. But hopefully I’ll get speedier once I get more used to these distances.

Better Than Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

It’s also been a rather slow(but busy!) morning; I took 60 minutes between getting of the treadmill to do everything I had to do before sitting down to a breakfast. Time gap much? I pulled out these new seeds for some optimum nutrition and worked them in to some favorite foods.

Pepita Sun Butter Oats, Soy Yogurt With Hemp And Pumpkin Seeds

Agave Soy Yogurt With Vanilla Stevia, Pumpkin Seeds, And Hulled Hemp

Clearly, when I get on a theme, I get on it. I had a somewhat obligatory bowl of oatmeal with pepita sun butter from Naturally Nutty. Since that has pumpkin, flax, and hemp, naturally my yogurt should follow suit, right? It was a glorious reunion with soy yogurt after a week of being out of it! It was nice and sweet, which gave good contrast for the pumpkin seeds and hulled hemp. I guess overall it was a pretty seedy breakfast 😉

Back On Track

I tried this last week and liked where it got me! But then some things took a downturn over the weekend, so here’s to me getting back on track.

1. Meal plans. In short, I need to make them. They may not be necessary, but they make life so much simpler, especially on work days, so why not? Any ideas for all that beef? I have a few, but I’d love to hear what you can come up with!

2. Planned Runs. Last week I hit my running goals spot on, and I hope the same for this week! Mon: 10. Tues: 5. Wed: 10. Thu: 7. Fri: 8. Those are the goals, at least.

3. Protein & Fat. I feel like I was doing so well at incorporating more protein and fat and then–what happened? Over the weekend was beans and chips and oatmeal–oh my! Hopefully, this one will come naturally if I stick to number 1 and number 4…

4. Eat Nutrition! I don’t mean to demonize carbs, I really don’t. But the fact is that heavy carb items–sugar, oatmeal, starchy vegetables–are also usually not as nutrient dense as light vegetables, seeds, nuts, and proteins. I was not a fan of Thrive by Brendan Brazier, but one point that stuck out to me was that he went from eating 8000 calories of starchy, white foods a day to 2000 of nutrient-rich ones and became 10 times better in what he does.

5. Work First, Internet Later. This is more of a one-day goal, specifically today! I have a HUGE to-do list before the week starts up, and anything beyond my inbox just does not need to be addressed soon I figure. So for now, it’s work work work!

And now, drumroll please….

The winner of my biggest contest thus far is reader Melissa MC! Congrats! I will contact you for your information. If you didn’t win, keep an eye out for more contests soon and more coconut oil recipes!

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Welcome To The Weekend

Posted on February 11, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Giveaway | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Welcome to my weekend, at least! I can’t think of a more perfect way than with a new Survivor season starting in 20 minutes! I’ve been watching the show since season 1 when I was only around 8 or 9 years old. Has it really been that long? Anyway, It felt soooo good getting out of my class at 4pm this afternoon. If you’ll remember, last Thursday it was out of class and off to chocolate fest so there wasn’t much “downtime”. This afternoon, however, has been nothing but. Speaking of being lazy, I really didn’t want a “real lunch” this afternoon. All I cared about was dessert. I ended up doing something sloppy and simple.

Scrambled Eggs With Ketchup, Canned Pumpkin With Nutritional Yeast

What can I say? I’m a college student 😛 I scrambled 2 Eggland’s Best Cage Free eggs in a little pasture butter and topped with ketchup–OMG. I seriously forgot how satisfying just scrambled eggs are. My grandma would make them for me all the time; I’ll need to do them more often. On the other hand, I’ve decided pretty firmly that I just do not care for pumpkin anywhere but in my oats. It tastes bland and nasty, in my opinion. Blech. But I was also out of fresh, fiberous vegetables and was in a pickle(Mmm… pickles). More importantly, I just wanted my dessert.

Banana Whipe With Peanut Flour Topping

Banana whip! Oh how I love thee. So smooth. So creamy. So delicious. I’ve been keeping bananas from the dining hall in the dorm fridge for this; it’s free for me and takes up common space 🙂 For the topping, I meant to make a peanut sauce but didn’t use enough flour so it was more like dough. That doesn’t matter; what was important was that I realized peanut flour is something that upsets my stomach. It’s weird to think something that’s only peanut would do that to me, but it does. And it sucks that it’s a perfectly vegan source of protein 😦 I don’t even know what I’m going to do. Thoughts? Any lactose intolerant ice cream eaters out there?

Choco Peanut Butter Honest Foods Bar

During my 2nd of 2 classes this afternoon, I broke open this bar from Honest Foods. Honestly? It was pretty fantastic. I’ve come to notice that anything that’s supposed to taste like peanut butter with grains in it usually doesn’t; thankfully that wasn’t the case. I think any walnuts/sunflower seeds in here would have been better off being more peanut halves, but beyond that yum!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Coconut Oil

I could have been dancing getting out of my last class this afternoon; it didn’t quite matter that I didn’t do all the homework for it because we never get that far in translation courses. To celebrate the afternoon, I had some raw chocolate avocado pudding with Tropical Tradition‘s coconut oil. Welcome to the weekend indeed! If this is any indication, this weekend will be fattening 😉 After that I mostly vegged out doing some potential online shopping(aka filling a shopping cart with foodie finds but not hitting “check out”) and planning a comforting dinner.

Spinach & Feta Chicken Sausage, Roasted Brussels Sprouts And Sweet Potato With Maple Syrup

I think that pretty much sums up my comfort foods: brussels sprouts(or broccoli–either will do), sweet potatoes, maple syrup, fatty meat, salt, and anything roasted! Actually, the vegetables were a bit of a disappointment in that respect; either the fact that they were cooked in the dining hall(with no apparent fat) or my lack of patience meant they weren’t well roasted. This flavor of Al Fresco all natural chicken sausage cooked in a pan with some pasture butter made up for it a bit.

Fat Talk

Since I have a bit of time, I thought why not address some fat talk. And not the kind that we all snickered about in High School! I want to talk about fat in your(or my) diet. I was turned on to different and new fats and ways of thinking about them by bloggers like Heather and Averie. If today can be seen as an average day, then I get a good deal of mono- and poly-saturated fats from almond butter, peanut butter, and avocado, and my saturated fats from coconut, grass-fed butter, and hormone-free meats.

The obvious question would be “How do you feel?”. My answer is “Pretty darn good”. The fat is definitely delicious and filling. I haven’t had any stomach issues save the peanut flour which is actually only 12% fat. And–for what it’s worth–my skin and complexion seem smoother and clearer. If I had to sum it all up and be catch, I’d say “Fat is here to stay”. And I still think that getting the mono/polysaturated fats as well as the “bad” saturated fats. These really aren’t so bad if you stick with sources like coconut and grass-fed meat and dairy options.

Well that’s just my 5-minute 2 cents. But without further ado, the winner of the Yogurt Maker via Random.org is…

Erika!

Congrats! I can’t wait to see what she cultures up. And, if you didn’t win this, you can win Chobani from Anne in her giveaway here.

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Like Yogurt?

Posted on February 9, 2010. Filed under: Giveaway | Tags: , |

I know, I know–that’s an awful question for this crowd! Of course you like yogurt. And you know I do, with probiotics being a superfood of mine(full list above). The fact that I’m sure you like yogurt makes me happy to announce…

My Yogurt Maker Giveaway

Here’s a horrible confession: I’ve never made yogurt. Why haven’t I? Frankly, I haven’t had the equipment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t. CSN Stores offers a wide variety of products(and when I say wide, I mean wiiiiiiide. You can find everything from the stools you sit on while eating something dehydrated on top of some new plates). For this giveaway, 1 U.S. reader will win a yogurt maker. Just picture it: you can control the milk type, tang-level, and even strain it for some homemade Greek yogurt! I’m already excited and I can’t even win!

How to Enter(leave a separate comment each time)

1. Go to one of their websites, pick something out that would fit into your dream home(pretend it’s Christmas and money’s not an option!) and post a link to it.

2. If you have a blog, blog about this and link back to this post

3. If you are ineligible for #2, send an email to 3 friends with a link here to spread the word and cc Evan@foodmakesfunfuel.com

Good luck! I’ll pick a winner Thursday night. That’ll be a great way for me to start my weekend and one of you to push through your Friday 🙂 And don’t forget there’s still time to enter my coconut oil giveaway, too!

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My Big Fat Contest

Posted on February 1, 2010. Filed under: Giveaway | Tags: , |

Good morning! If everything is going right, this is auto-posting while I’m living up my 4-day weekend, getting my long run in, refueling with oatmeal, and doing my laundry. If that’s not entirely the case, it’s because I’m forgetting to do my laundry–go do it, Evan!

Remember my big fat post? Well it got a spin-off(think Private Practice from Grey’s Anatomy) and this is it! I’ve been loving my coconut oil as of late; I’ve been eating at least a tablespoon a day through delicious sources:

Raw Vegan Chocolate

Coconut Oil Peanut Fudge

Probiotic Chocolate Avocado Pudding With Raw Chocolate

. It’s also been increasing my cravings for movie theater popcorn tenfold, but lets skip over that nasty side effect.You might have read my official review of it:

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

9.5/10: This one gets a gold star from me; this was everything I could ask for a coconut oil product and more. After reading about how it was harvested and just how unrefined this particular product was on the Tropical Tradition website, I was really impressed; that’s not something you’ll find in a lot of coconut oils. The room-temperature stability was perfect for cold applications but also ease of access. And the flavor was incredibly raw and very much “coconut”. My only wish were that this be more available in stores rather than simply from the website. But I also love and acknowledge that the company has a lot of sales and specials for members and you can get an incredible deal on this better priced than any store product if you wait for the right moment.

Now it’s time for the giveaway! Tropical Traditions has an amazing line of just about anything you could need on their website. They also have a neat recipe website utilizing the benefits of coconut products. Best of all, they have a newsletter, facebook page, and twitter account to let you be an insider and get some amazing deals on any of their products. You know me; I’m all about coupons and sales. Remember when I got 2 4-packs of Steaz(regularly $4.49) for a grand total of $2.49 with sales and a Whole Deal coupon? That was a good deal. And one of the great things about Tropical Traditions is that they’re always running sales and specials so if you play your cards right you’ll get their products for less.

This is your chance to win a 32oz container of Coconut Oil for free!

How to Enter: There’s no “mandatory” entry, just the ones listed below. For each entry you complete, leave a separate comment.

1. Tell me what you would do with 32oz coconut oil(1 entry)

2. Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions newsletter(2 entries)

3. Fan them on facebook(1 entry)

4. Follow them twitter(1 entry)

5. Tweet “@EvanFMFF is hosting a giveaway for @Troptraditions’ coconut oil http://tinyurl.com/yzj2l4g!”(1 entry) and leave your twitter name so you get credit for it

6. Blog about this giveaway(3 entries)

7. Buy something from Tropical Traditions and give my ID as your referrer(5850250) and in the process get a free “Virgin Coconut Oil book” added to your order(5 entries)

I’ll keep this open for a full 2 weeks so there’s plenty of chances for all who want to participate to enter. Good luck!

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Taking Control

Posted on January 15, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Giveaway, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

*Chobani winner announced at the end of this post*

I think everyone is entitled to control of their own life. And it then becomes our duty to make sure we actually take the control into our own hands. This morning I had my annual doctor’s physical, which I was not looking forward to. Frankly, I haven’t been happy with my physician for the past few visits, which doesn’t bode well for him since I’ve only had him for a few years now. I feel he judges his patients as dots, simply comparing them to all the other dots in America on his little chart; that doesn’t cut it for me. I’m unique. You’re unique. Everyone is unique. Like I predicted, he pulled up his laptop with his charts and explained what numbers were a little high and which ones were a little low, and I sat there and took it. What I really wanted to yell say was that everything he was pointing out runs in my family and is hereditary and that they are who he should be comparing me to. But when I walked out afterwards, I made a decision: I will be changing doctors after today. We have every right to be in control of our health care, we just need to take it. Consider control taken. Is there any part of your life that you need to take control? You don’t need to write about it in the comments; just do it!

What else gives me a great sense of control? My meal planning, which led me to this lunch of tactfully planned leftovers:

Vegan Meatloaf With Ketchup, Sweet Potato Rounds With Nutritional Yeast, Broccoli

Root Beer Zevia

I cannot tell you how excited I was for today’s lunch; as good as the vegan meatloaf is the first day, it’s about 10 times better after sitting in the fridge–sooo amazing! Especially with a little ketchup because I’m classy like that 😉 And, hey! There might have even been some sweet potato under that nutritional yeast… just maybe. And on the side I sipped a root beer Zevia for something special while watching the television and catching up on the google reader.

While we’re talking about control, I never feel more in control than in the kitchen. I love it, especially when it’s my own recipe I’m working on. I made up a recipe last night just for Cookie Friday that hit all my cravings for the time.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunkies

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance(or butter), softened
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 a teaspoon salt
  • 60g milk chocolate bar, shaved(or 1/4 cup chocolate chips)
  • Coarse sea salt

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, cream together the earth balance and sugar. Whisk in the egg and egg yolk, peanut butter, milk, and vanilla extract. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the dry ingredients the egg mixture and mix well. Fold in the milk chocolate shavings. Scoop out cookies onto a lined baking pan. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top of the cookies and flatten the top with a fork perpendicularly. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunkies

These definitely would be the show-stoppers at any cookie swap; who can say no to milk chocolate and peanut butter? And they really aren’t that unhealthy for you at all because a lot of the sugar has been replaced with healthy fats and butter replaced with no-cholesterol Earth Balance. And of course you can take control and adjust the recipe to suit yourself.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

While I was in the kitchen I made up some peanut butter cups. There were also 4 others that are just out of the picture. What I love about this is you can take control and adjust the chocolate and peanut butter to your liking. The chocolate here is a darker milk chocolate made with 3 parts Trader Joe’s milk chocolate for every 1 part Baker’s Unsweetened. The peanut butter was a blend of 8 parts Smart Balance Agave Sweetened to 1 part vanilla bean infused sugar. I’m not sure how the peanut butter tasted but I slipped a bit of the chocolate and it was perfect. When everything was done, I took my cookie and coffee and sat down.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunky

Soooo good. These are more salty than sweet, which is totally my preference. But that’s not saying they don’t have sweetness to them. They just taste like good ol’ peanut butter and some smooth chocolate. I ended up watching Tivoed Good Eats and was pleasantly surprised to find it was Alton’s new weight loss episode. Have you seen him recently? He lost 50 pounds of fat! Go Alton! I loved his “no-diet” diet of how he eats:

  • Daily: Fruits, whole grains, leafy greens, nuts, carrots, green tea.
  • At least 3x weekly: oily fish, yogurt, broccoli, sweet potato, avocado.
  • 1 time a week at most: red meat, pasta, dessert, alcohol.
  • None: fast foods, soda, processed meals, canned soups, “diet” anything
  • Breakfast every day–no excuses!

I love it! Probably because it sounds like me 😀 (Except for the dessert thing. Desserts a daily item with me) He really took control of his life. What was best was that he was serving this up as a lifestyle and not a diet, which is how it should be seen. If you can, seek out the whole episode. Before dinner I snacked on an apple:

Organic Apple

I don’t know why but I feel the need to point out when things are organic. Thankfully, I’ve noticed this is a common thing among blogs so I don’t feel completely random here. And then I made dinner. I tried a honey citrus salmon, which probably would have been 10 times better were the fish thicker, fresh, and not done in a pan. As it were, it actually didn’t come out bad(though caused a lot of smoke).

Honey Citrus Salmon, Mashed Kefir Cauliflower With Black Pepper

Salty Oatmeal With Raw Cheddar Cheese

We just called it “blackened” salmon 🙂 I also tried out a new recipe! Mashed cauliflower with coconut milk kefir as the creamer. Sooo good! I loved how it came out a bit tangy and sweet from the kefir. AND I can count it as a probiotic source(which is helpful because this would then be number 1 of the day). On the side, I was having a major craving for salt oatmeal. So while I made my parents white potatoes, I cooked up really salty oats and topped it with a salty, raw cheddar–heaven. I’m sure that doesn’t sound in the least appetizing, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have been if it weren’t a major craving. And now, as I’m typing, I’m “unwinding” to this:

Zevia Cola

What is it about beverages that make them what we unwind with? With caffeine, this probably isn’t the best choice to have at night for me, but it is Friday after all 😀 Before I bring up my giveaway, I want to point out the Oikos giveaway at An Apple A Day and the Crofter’s giveaway at Crunches For Cupcakes. And without further ado…

Carrie H!

“Lemon Bluberry Chobani loaf! I NEED some baked goods in my life right now! Oh, and I’ve never tried Chobani, so thanks for the giveaway!”

Never tried Chobani?! We’ll have to fix that. Send me your address and I’ll forward it to the company.

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Say Cheeese And A Giveaway!

Posted on January 12, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Giveaway, Product Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Road trip! Route: Memory Lane

Did anybody else eat way too many of these in their childhood? It might or might not be just a New England thing; I’m not sure. Basically, these are cheese sandwich crackers with peanut butter in between. They’re not exactly health food, but at least they don’t have trans fat or HFCS(anymore at least. I have doubts about when I was a kid). OK, well I didn’t quite have these, BUT I figured out a kickassbutt way to work them into my lunch.

Cheddar Pop Chips With Smart Balance Peanut Butter

While trying out a new flavor of Pop Chips. Pretty snazzy. Plus I had real food.

Snobby Lentils And Broccoli With Nutritional Yeast

And something tall and bubbly to wash it all down.

Blueberry Pomegranate Steaz

And then I moved this all to the couch in front of the television. No, really, I did. My stomach was still feeling funky for lunch so instead of tofu I kept it simple with overcooked lentils and snobby joes over broccoli. I think I’m becoming a bigger and bigger fan of nutritional yeast; you just need to add A LOT at the time. The soda was OK but the flavor didn’t blow my mind; it mostly just tasted like green tea.

Also “just OK” was this flavor of Pop Chips. It just didn’t have that same, overly processed flavor as other cheese snacks. But maybe that’s a good thing? It’s just what I’ve come to expect from cheddar chips. What was really good was them with the peanut butter. It was just like the crackers! The sweet and salty work so well together. I might have to buy a bag of Pop Chips just for that.

After lunch and television, I started working on dinner.

Wet Ingredients

Along with the meal plan, I was making some killer cornbread. This time, I tried a variation some variations on it: I sweetened with 3 tablespoons agave nectar, accidentally poured in about twice the salt, and cut in cold pieces of Earth Balance natural butter spread at the last moment instead of mixing in the butter well.

Killer Cornbread

I actually think it might have cooked a few minutes faster, but besides that it looked and smelled the same: delicious. I also made up a rub for the chicken.

BBQ Chicken Rub

BBQ Chicken Rub

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt, if desired. Rub over chicken before cooking.

Marinating Chicken

It might technically be a marinade. I’m not sure. But if it’s a problem for you, please take it up with my lawyers. After that I rewatched the newest episode of Unwrapped(because, really, you need to see it twice to let it sink in). As much as I hate to eat bars at home, I was craving something dense and chewy, much like a granola bar. It was that or cut into the cornbread early.

Nature's Path Peanut Butter Optimum Energy Bar

I won this bar from Nature’s Path‘s facebook page and had no reason to try it until now. It definitely wasn’t very peanut buttery, but at least it had peanuts in it, as well as fiber and protein. Probably didn’t need all that added sugar for sitting on the house and converting recipes, but c’est la vie. After a good while, I got a start on dinner by putting broccoli and the chicken in the oven, and made a snack while I waited for that.

Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt With Organic Strawberry Conserves

Vanilla bean sugar makes everything feel special 🙂 And I just noticed my strawberry is organic, which has me far more excited than it should. Now I feel like I’m saving the earth every time I have some, though that’s probably not the case.

Killer Cornbread, BBQ Chicken, Roasted Broccoli Fries

Killer Cornbread, BBQ Chicken, Roasted Broccoli Fries

Finally, some decent broccoli fries. The perfection comes in the patience; these roasted for over an hour. The chicken was really good, but it would have been better had we had the grill to use. Still, the notes of cinnamon and cayenne were perfect. And the cornbread came out much better than the last time, probably because last time I forgot to add 1/2 the sweetener. This batch we decided was definitively more “corny” due to the agave nectar.

You should enter this giveaway for Amy’s Kitchen products right after entering my…

Chobani Giveaway!

Now that you’ve seen me cook with Chobani, here’s your chance to win some. Would you like to win a case of fruit Chobani? I love their fruit flavors because fruit is always the number 2 ingredient right behind milk(except for with the raspberry flavor). To enter, go to the Chobani website and write in one of the recipes that looks good to you. For bonus entries:

I’ll randomly choose a winner Friday at 8pm(which spells Ghost Whisperer time in this house) so get your comments in by then and good luck!

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TRUwhip Winners

Posted on December 14, 2009. Filed under: Giveaway | Tags: , |

And the winners of the TRUwhip giveaway are

Averie

Alice

and Aileen

Congratulations, ladies. Email me with your addresses and I’ll send it along to the company. Everyone else, I definitely encourage you to get yourself some TRUwhip; it will be at my Christmas table for sure. And keep your eyes on the lookout for more giveaways on the horizon!

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TRUwhip Giveaway

Posted on December 10, 2009. Filed under: Giveaway | Tags: , |

I’m so excited to be hosting this giveaway! If you read my Thanksgiving post, then you saw that I had the pleasure of trying out a new product: TRUwhip.  Sold at most natural food stores like Whole Foods, TRUwhip is the only all natural frozen whipped topping out there, and it’s 70% organic, too! If you’ve read my review, then you can tell how much me and my family enjoyed this with some nice pie and ice cream 🙂

I think what I love best about TRUwhip is that they aren’t interested in making a “healthy” whipped topping– just something delicious and all-natural to be enjoyed. They take the right blend of the right ingredients and show just how fun nature can tastes. And I would love to share some with you!

For 1 entry, go to the TRUwhip website and leave a comment telling me one ingredient in their product

For a bonus entry, link back to this post on your blog and then leave a comment telling me you did so.

I’ll pick not 1, not 2, but 3 winners Monday morning. If you win, you can expect a coupon for a free tub in the mail in time to have it for the holidays! 🙂 Good luck

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