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Archive for May, 2012

Happy Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day! I cannot even begin to express how much I love getting my Foodie Pen Pal Box. Having the opportunity to try snacks, treats and food item’s that other bloggers and readers enjoy, then share with you is so much darn fun. Looking back to my First box in March, and then my Second Box in April, I just can not get past the thoughtfulness of  the senders. You can tell they think about what they are sending.

So now to my May Foodie Pen Pal Box.

foodiepal stamp2 Foodie Penpals

This month I received my Foodie Box from Rachael at Passing Daisies. Rachael sure did pick out some taste treats, plus she sent some really awesome home-baked cookies. Rachael made Chocolate Chip, Almond & Peep Cookies. Yep, there are chopped Peeps in these cookies. Clever, right!

Once I pulled out all my goodies, I could barely wait to try a cookie. So once I snapped a picture, I grabbed a plate and placed the cookies out.

Look at how beautiful they are. They are loaded with chocolate chips and almonds, then you have the colorful peeps peeking out at you.

Okay, these cookies are awesome, they have a great chewy texture, and really are unique and fun. My husband went a little overboard and ate 4  cookies, one right after the other. He said that they were so good and addictive, and I totally agree. Great job Rachel your cookies were a big hit over here!

Then I sorted all the snacks. I love snacks. Rachael sent Seasnax, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies, Organic Fruit Snacks and Vega One Nutritional Shake Mix.

So right away I opened the Seasnax. I love roasted seaweed and could not wait to try this brand. Rachael sent me the Toasted Onion flavor. I really enjoyed eating this, perfect snack if you like salty snacks, I like to think of them as the Chip from the sea.

Yummy little snack.

Then my attention turned to the show stopper. Okay brace yourself, I might get a little dramatic here. I have tendency to get super excited over Nut butters. So here we go… Rachael sent me MaraNatha Caramel Almond Spread. After my husband Revived Me , I did a weird little dance; Picture a short, curly haired, super excited lady in your mind, then picture her popping up and down and side to side holding the jar pictured below, and that’s how excited I was. I will dance for Nut butters, I will flat-out Bust A Move for them.

The lid came off instantly, normally I need my Jar Opening Cloth to assist me, but apparently I gain strength with excitement. My husband and I taste tested it straight from the spoon, it was a special moment for both of us. AmazeBalls is all I can say, you get the caramel flavor and the almond flavor swirled together. Perfection in a jar.

Rachal also sent me a jar of Yoders Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. I am looking forward to trying this in my oatmeal. What a great flavor combination with the Strawberries and Rhubarb.

Also in my box was this baby! Love Grown Simply Oats Granola. I love this flavor and cannot wait to dig into a big old bowl of granola and yogurt.

See what I mean about Foodie Pen Pals putting together a thoughtful box. Thank-you so much Rachael for an amazing Foodie Box, you did a great job selecting items for me and I appreciate it very much.

This month I sent a Foodie Box to Kris over at From Sugar Cookies to Peterbilts. I’m excited to see how she likes what I sent.

If you are interested in joining, just review the information below and join in on the fun.

Here’s a detailed explanation of the program:

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

***If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at rocksalt@thisisrocksalt.com to get involved!

Question of the Day: What Food Item Do You Dance For? Or if Singing is your thing, What Food Item Do You Sing For?

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Sometimes I just have to have this for breakfast. It calls to me. So instead of my Fitmixer protein shake I had an English muffin topped with Almond maple flavored nut butter, sliced banana and chia seeds.

I over loaded chia seeds, but I love the crunch they add. Hit the spot.

Spent the week-end planting my annual flowers and replacing mulch where it was needed. I love gardening, it is great exercise and I love being outdoors. Plus I love to come home from work everyday and water my flowers and watch them grow.

In the summer I love walking, grilling, gardening, boating and riding my motorcycle. I try to fit them all in weekly.

After working outside all day I got busy making dinner. I knew I had to make this Chicken Caesar Burger when I saw it on Courtney’s, Sweet Tooth Sweet Life blog.  It sounded so good with the shredded Parmesan cheese and the Caesar dressing. So having planned ahead I had all the ingredient I needed on hand. Just a few weeks ago I made a Chicken Lime Burger and fell in love with ground chicken. So now I have two favorite chicken burgers for summer grilling.

Also grilled up some Brussels sprouts seasoned with Parmesan gold nuggets.

I used a petite loaf as a bun, it was a large serving of bread, but was so good.

Perfect day to grill out, it was 87 degrees. No way was I going to use the oven today.

Now that’s a big old burger.

Followed by a cup of fresh strawberries. They were very sweet and cold. Perfect way to end a meal.

This recipe was adapted from Courtney at Sweet Tooth Sweet Life.

Chicken Caesar Burgers

Serves 4 

Ingredients:

  • 1lb. Ground Chicken
  • 1/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/3 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons Caesar dressing
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
Finishing Touches/Garnish:
  • Extra Caesar Dressing
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Freshly Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Bread of your Choice

Directions:

Combine the ingredients and mix well. Form into four patties. Grill over medium-high heat, 6-8 minutes on each side. Top cooked chicken burgers with freshly shredded parmesan cheese, romaine lettuce, and extra Caesar dressing.

Question of the Day: What is your Favorite Burger Topping?

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Sweet potato’s rule in my book, I them baked, make them into wedges, make them into chips, and mashed, but lately wedges are my obsession.

The only problem I have is the cutting. I have to get the husband to do that for me, I have serious issues cutting through the center of the sweet potato, hey, I’m not to proud to ask for help! So once they are arranged I season with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil.

Then I season my asparagus.

I used Garlic Gold, Italian Herb to season the asparagus.

Grilled up a Salmon burger.

Love an easy cooked meal.

Question of the Day: What’s your favorite spice you use in your kitchen?

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I took all these pictures on my Blackberry phone, really happy how clear the pictures come out. Just wanted to share a walk/hike I took with my husband and my dogs on the farm trail. I am lucky that I live near a farm and the owners like for people to use the trails. My dogs love the hike and they know that after the hike we go and feed the chickens, I love visiting the Lovely Ladies.

A while back I posted a walk on the farm called I hiked. Well after Hiking the Flat Iron in Boulder, I feel like my Michigan trail is now more of a walk/hike in comparison.  But a walk is a walk and I love walking outdoors.

Kind of obsessed with taking pictures of shadows.

This years crop is going to be field corn, and field corn gets super high, so I hope to show the progress the corn is making. I walk this trail often so I will keeping posting pictures and share them. Last years crop was soybean and they are not as exciting as the corn is, as far as the growing process goes.

Stuart loved the trail. He smells and marks every thing.

Killian always leads us, he gets the long lead leash for farm walks.

Stuart gets tired on this walk, but he really pushes through it like a stallion.

So after the walk we headed to see the Lovely Ladies and give them my kitchen scraps, some bread and some shredded carrots. I love to feed the ladies, they really are beautiful.

They love human visitors. The dogs stay in the car, they stress the chickens out so we only let the dogs watch them from the car.

Then we headed home. Saying good-bye to the farm. I love being out on the farm.

But we left with a treat. Fresh asparagus that the farmer had on his personal vegetable plot. Score.  I think foods from the farm that are fresh always taste better than the vegetables I get from the grocery store. I am very excited that after Memorial Day my Friday Farm Market opens up. All the products sold are from local farms in my area.

Had a great day, perfect weather, and stayed active.

Question of the Day: Do you notice the taste difference from fresh farm foods over store-bought foods?

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Loving a good old egg breakfast. One for me two for him.

Microwave for one minute and thirty seconds. Make sure to spray the glass container with cooking spray.

LOVELY.

Toast an English Muffin, top with cheese and get your egg on.

Done. I could pound down two of these without a problem, they are so good. Easy fast food, made at home.

Question of the Day: Have you ever blown up an egg in the microwave? I have. Messy. Very Messy.

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Core Power has become a favorite of mine since attending the Blend Retreat. I have never purchased premixed protein shakes before. I remember trying a Slim Fast shake that a co-worker had years and years ago and still remember the tin flavor of the shake. So I guess I formed the option that all premixed protein shakes would all taste like that. Well Core Power changed that for me. The Core Power products are like drinking a milk shake, but with protein. I am really in love with the vanilla flavor, but the honey is right there behind it. It’s like getting a treat after working out, but this treat is beneficial and supports your recovery. They also have a chocolate flavor, but I did not get to try that flavor, but based on the other two I tried, I do not see how you could go wrong.

You get 26 grams of protein in each serving, and it comes with a healthy dose of essential amino acids. Core Power is a natural high protein muscle recovery drink for every type of fitness enthusiast. Created with your active lifestyle in mind, real milk protein serves as the base for this awesome tasting protein shake. Here’s the Nutritional Breakdown:

  • Protein: 26g of naturally concentrated whey and casein proteins
  • Calcium: 700mg of highly absorbable calcium
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D works with calcium to strengthen bones, which may increase athletic performance

Check out their product description, it really sums it up.

Introducing core power high protein recovery drink: Don’t leave your workout unfinished.

Core Power Natural High-Protein Milk Shake, Vanilla, 11.5-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 12)

Sometimes we forget we need to fuel our bodies after working out in order to rebuild muscle and gain strength. You can find Core Power at Amazon.com  just follow this link. They are sold by the case and they also offer a Strawberry Banana Slim Version if you are looking to cut back on calories. The slim version offers 20 grams of protein.

Strawberry Banana 20g

Product Features

(Taken directly from the Amazon site.)

  • Pack of 12, 11.5-ounce bottles of Core Power Natural High-Protein Milk Shake
  • Made with fresh, lactose-free milk and real vanilla
  • 700 milligrams of highly absorbable calcium
  • 26 grams of naturally concentrated whey and casein proteins
  • Nutrient rich drink helps you recover faster and build lean muscle
  • 12 – 11.5 ounce HDPE bottles
  • 26 grams of protein; Optimum ratio of carbs
  • Core Power is a registered trademark licensed by Fair Oaks Farms Brands, Inc., and is a DESIGNER milk product
  • Lactose-free
  • Real milk and real honey; Great taste, simple ingredients

Did you catch the bullet that it is lactose free milk? I do not have any food restrictions, but I heard several attendees at the Blend Retreat state how excited they were that Core Power used lactose free milk.

Again Core Power can be found on Amazon.com. They also have a great website that features a Blog with tips and information on health. Core power is also available in some stores, to see if a store is near you Check Out This Link.

Question of the Day: Do you use protein shakes to recover and rebuild after working out?

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We had amazing weather this weekend. I did so much yard work and gardening. I’m sore, tired and hot. Here’s a few of the eats I enjoyed over the weekend.

This is not my first time adding Kale to a smoothie, a while back I did a post called Keeping Up with Kale.  I enjoy adding greens to my smoothie, you get a nice color and it adds a little texture.

Added to my Fitmixer protein powder, makes a nice think shake.

This is my third kale smoothie this week, yummy.

After blending the kale leaves become tiny flecks.

For dinner I used the rest of the kale for Kale Chips. I used my toaster oven, it works great for small batches, if I have a large batch I use the oven.

Kale Chips

  • Preheat oven to about 375*
  • Tear the leaves off the thick stems into bite size pieces. Spread out on baking sheet
  • Drizzle with about 2 tsp of olive oil
  • Season with your favorite spices
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until edges are brown and kale is crispy
Also roasted up some Tofu and Cauliflower. I love this combo because they can be roasted at the same time. 425* for 25 minutes. We also had a side of Udon noodles.

We ate dinner on the deck again tonight, I love dining outdoors, plus I wanted to take in all the work I had done, I love doing yard work and gardening. I am really excited to pick out all my annual flowers for pots which I plan on planting over the Memorial Day Holiday.  I will be posting a lot of  flower pictures this summer.

Question of the Day: Do you eat outside on nice days?

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This has been my ride to work for the last week. My husband’s car is in the shop so he has been using mine. So my recreational vehicle has become my main vehicle. I will be the first to admit it, I am a fair weather rider. Well this past week I have ridden in a light sprinkle and 45 degree weather. It was not that bad, but the second I get my car back I am going to rejoice. It’s hard packing all I need for the day in those little side bags. Okay pity part is over.

Oats in a jar or OIAJ, for breakfast.

Added all my favorites, chia seeds, soy milk, nut butter and cinnamon.

Came home to this amazing delight. Popchips sent me a case of there Chili Lime Popchips. I love them, they are such a great company. They were a Blend Retreat sponsor and rewarded any of  the attendees with a 30 day supply for blogging about our experience with popchips. Well that was easy for me, I loved them, I cannot get enough of them.

The chili lime flavor is both spicy hot and sweet, so much flavor, I think  popchips are going to be a staple snack in my house from now on.

Such a satisfying healthy snack. Did I mention that they are all natural flavors and ingredients.

Then I got to dinner. Really excited to try a new recipe for kale.

My little kid, Killian loves him some kale. He loves any green leafy vegetable, well he love all veggies.

Side dish of couscous.

So this recipe for sautéed Kale is easy, it softens it and takes the bitter bite right out.

Cook the onions and garlic with some olive oil, about 5 minutes. Then add the kale and a 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes stirring as needed.

Grilled some chicken breasts.

Put it all together and sprinkled with feta cheese, and dig in.

Love eating on the deck, makes the work week fade away.

Here a Greatest Hits Look Back on a series of Kale posts I have done. Sell you on Kale. Accidents Happen.  With a side of Kale.  Pancakes or Eggs. Anticipation. Keeping up with Kale. Also check out a post that my friend Tamara did over at Wild Blue Wonder for Tofu Kale Triangles.

Wishing you a happy weekend!

Question of the Day: How have you used Kale? Or does seeing recipes for Kale make you want to try it?

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Okay, I think I am addicted to Boot Camps, first there was Tina’s Best Body Boot Camp, then the Boot Camp at the Blend Retreat and now the Fitmixer Boot Camp.  I love organized workout groups, it keeps me motivated and I really look forward to the daily tasks.

So with the Boot Camp I have been introduced to amino’s, well I am excited about this because I really get sore after workouts and the amino’s are supposed to help repair muscle tissue and recover faster.

The entire Boot Camp package looks like this. This will take me through the entire 12 week program.

These are some of the samples I received from the Blend retreat.

The amino’s taste so good, I love the grape flavor.

Along with the powder supplements they also have a healthy diet plan that is designed specifically for each participant from a registered dietitian. Here is my breakfast and lunch. I love to prep my snacks and meals, it keeps me on task and allows more time to concentrate on the workouts. That’s one thing with Boot Camps some of the workouts and moves I am not familiar with, so they usually have videos showing all the moves and proper execution. So I usually watch the video in full, and then I do the workouts. So that can eat up a lot of time, but worth it when you find a new favorite exercise.

After work I head home and get right on my workout’s.

The first day we had a Fit test to complete. The test gauges us at the start of the program and will be repeated mid Boot Camp and then at the end, this will show us how we progressed through the program. My weak area is and has always been my core. I also see from the test that I need to work on my triceps strength. I like that each evening we get our next days workout, a motivational thought, and a nutrition tip of the day. They also have snack suggestions and recipes. So much support is available. Plus on Thursday evenings we have a group conference call. Looking forward to my first call tonight.

Then it’s off to make dinner. I plan on keeping it clean and simple, a lean protein, a hearty carbohydrate and a vegetable, plus the plan even suggests a dinner roll. Love that.

  

Grilled salmon, roasted broccoli and brown rice.

Hello, my name is Dena and I am addicted to Boot Camp.

Check Ya Later.

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My parents came into town for a visit recently and when I asked my mom what she wanted to eat, and she said Middle-Eastern food. I wanted to kiss her through the phone. Besides Greek Food, Middle-Eastern Food is my favorite. I have an ongoing love affair going with hummus. My Italian Grandmother gets upset when I tell her my love for any foods other than Italian, so this is our secret.

The restaurant we went to was beautiful and nicely decorated. Plus when you dine with senior citizens you can find a seat anywhere, Oh the joys of eating dinner at 4pm.

For my dinner I choose the hommous (how it was spelled on the menu) topped with lamb. Hummus is how I always spell it. I guess there are several versions, I don’t care how it’s spelled I love just want an endless supply of it. Anyway.

To start we received a basket of fresh bakes pita bread and the garlic dip.

My dad would not try it, so that left more for me and my mom. My dad is not adventurous with foods, it took me 15 years to get him to try a tiny little bite of tofu, which he claimed almost killed him. He only likes what his mother served him as a child and what my mom continues to serve him. He actually said to me at dinner that he worries about me getting enough protein in my diet because I eat so many strange foods. I have explained to him 100 times that the foods I eat are protein based, like tofu, hummus, and beans. He means well, he’s just really old school. Another funny comment from my dad was, “what do you eat on your cereal since you don’t like milk? I told him I do like milk, but prefer soy milk. He then told me how worried he is that I don’t get enough calcium. Bless his heart.

Then came the salad, just a fresh chopped salad with a light house dressing and fresh herbs. Hidden under all the greens were some really great chunks of cucumbers and tomatoes.

My parents each ordered the shish-kabob and rice. My dad loves shish-kakob and that was probably the only thing on the menu he would order.

Here’s my hommous topped with lamb, it was very good, I loved the spices on the meat, plus the hommous was so thick and flavorful. Dad would not try it, not even a tiny taste, but I will continue to keep at that one, I think he would really like it, if he would only give it a taste.

It was a perfect meal and time well spent with the rents. On a super sweet end note, my dad gave me a box of Godiva chocolates because he worries I don’t eat enough chocolates! Funny, right.

Check Ya Later.

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