Is Black Friday worth it?      

Hello

I hope you had nice thanksgiving.  We had a great time with our family and enjoyed some yummy food but after a couple days of splurging, I was glad to get on track today with a green smoothie and some sweet potatoes and a veggie burger. Splurging on food I don’t normally eat is fun but I always look forward to going back to healthy eating.

So, did you do any Black Friday shopping??? I am normally anti-black Friday because I personally do not have the patience to deal with huge crowds and long lines to get a “deal” For the most part, sales are offered all month long and you can buy a lot of gifts online so I usually don’t bother on Black Friday. Years ago, I used to show up on Black Friday to find what I came for was already sold out so I have been against it ever since.

This year however, something spiked my interest at Target. The $250 giftcard with Iphone. What? I have been wanting a new IPhone for years. I’m not one to get the latest and greatest when it comes to phones or electronics. I couldn’t afford to anyway. So as much as I dislike crowds and chaos, my daughter and I went to Target on black Friday which now starts on Thanksgiving at 6pm. It seems to happen earlier every year which seems a little unfair for the employees.

My daughter and I showed up 30 minutes before the store opened to find a long line already. When we got in the store, there was already about 8 people lined up for Iphones. It took each person 20-30 minutes to get their phone purchased and activated so I knew it was going to be a while. We waited in line for an hour and then we left for an hour thinking that would be enough time. When we arrived back at the store, there was still a long wait. I was getting a little inpatient and starting to get a headache.

This is what we looked like after a few hours. Drained.

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Thankfully, we had some nice people around us to talk to while waiting.

While we waiting, we took turns looking around the store. My daughter found a pair of boots and some cute scarves. All apparel and boots were 40% off!

After 4 long hours, I finally had my new Iphone in Rose Gold. Btw, it was the last one in the size and color I wanted.

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And my $250 Target giftcard.IMG_0013-0

I came home with a headache but I also had a new phone and a giftcard.

So was it worth it?

Yes.

Because I go the phone I wanted with 0 down (just tax) and was able to buy some things we needed like a new printer.

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And of course some gifts, which I purchased online.

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Would I do it again?

No.

Unless its something big that’s going to save a lot of $$$$ I will pass.

What are your thoughts on Black Friday? Do you think it should be on Thanksgiving or is that taking away from the whole meaning of Thanksgiving?

If I ever go again, I will not go on Thanksgiving.

How far are you willing to go to save big?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Marlene

 

Happy Thanksgiving 

Happy Thanksgiving Friends 

After yoga, my husband and I took our dog for a walk and enjoyed this beautiful day.    

 Aren’t those clouds pretty?

How did you enjoy your thanksgiving? 

Every year we go to my husband’s parents house which I love because they live only a few miles away and my mother in law is the best cook. Every year she does all the cooking and I bring a side, aka my sweet potatoes. This year I also brought a salad. 

This year I decided to make my mashed sweet potatoes in the crockpot because you know I like convenience when cooking. It was so simple. I peeled and cut the potatoes into chunks, threw in crockpot and 4 hours later they were ready to be mashed. I added cinnamon, butter (vegan), almond milk, and many syrup. Everyone said they turned on it good.            

Taste testing     
 

This is my second “meatless” thanksgiving 🙂
  

My mother in law makes the best broccoli casserole.  

Checking out those “Black Friday” deals. Did you or do you plan on partaking in all that deal shopping? I’m normally against it but this year I went for one thing only. More on that later. 

Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

Marlene 

Hemphearts recipe, review and giveaway!

Happy Friday

How are you?

I recently had the opportunity to receive a free sample pack of hemphearts from Manitoba Harvest and write a review. Because I have been using hemphearts for over a year now and love them, I was more than happy to share a recipe and a review. IMG_1288-0

I discovered hempseeds during my search for plant-based protein over a year ago when I gave up meat for good and became a vegetarian. Yes, I’m happy to say I have been meatless for over a year and it feels great. It has really helped me to think outside the box and become more creative with my food. And of course, the question I get asked most is, “where do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat?” My answer is always “from plants” where else?

Hempseeds are my favorite way to get protein and Omegas. Did you know that they contain a whopping 10 grams of protein and 10 grams of Omegas per serving? They are lower in carbs than flax and chia seeds, they are raw and NON-GMO. They have a yummy nutty flavor similar to pine nuts or sunflower seeds. I’ve tried all different plant proteins, rice, soy etc. and hemp is my favorite. For me, it’s much easier to digest.

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes using hempseeds. Peanut butter chocolate balls. I’ve shared this peanut butter ball recipe before, you can see it here. This time I added some raw cocao nibs for a more decadent peanut butter experience. Not sure if you know but peanut butter and chocolate are my favorite combo ever. It can be dangerous at times, but thankfully I have learned to create healthier versions of my favorite (but unhealthy) snacks and desserts.

Here is everything I used. Pretty simple right? I buy my maple syrup and dates in bulk at Costco. Its saves $$$$ and lasts for a while. I also buy my oats in bulk, usually at Sprouts.

1 cup of dates, 1 cup of oats, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/8 cup of maple syrup, 1 Tbs of hemphearts, 2 tbs of raw cocao nibsPlace all ingredients into food processor and mix away.

You would think you roll them into balls but you actually have to press them into balls. Every time I try to roll them, they fall apart. It gives your hand a nice little workout in the process. Sometimes I have to involve my kids in the process if I’m making a large batch or if I’ve weight trained that day. Mom’s hands get tired sometimes.

When you are done, they should look something like this. They very first time I made them, my husband said they looked like meatballs. Ew! I guess I could see that.

I ate about 3 of them while photographing. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Yummy!

Rusty thought he was going to get one but no can do. Chocolate is not for dogs. I repeat, chocolate is not for dogs. Especially not raw cocao. One time, we had an awful scare with chocolate. I’ll share that in another post.  Back to hempseeds.

Here are the list of ingredients again:

Ingredients:

1 cup of dates

1 cup of oatmeal (gluten-free if possible)

1/2 cup of natural peanut butter

3 Tbs. of Manitoba Harvest Hemphearts

2 Tbs. of raw cocao nibs (more if you desire a richer chocolate experience)

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together and roll (press) into balls and enjoy! They can be stored in the refrigerator. I can’t guarantee they’ll last long though. (My kids and husband also eat them)

I really enjoyed getting creative with these hemphearts the last couple weeks. You can sprinkle them on pretty much everything. I use them on oatmeal, salads, rice cakes, smoothies, you name it. Did you see my acai bowl I made with them? You can see that post here

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The possibilities are endless.

I want to thank Manitoba Harvest and Sweat Pink for allowing me this opportunity to review hemphearts. I had a lot of fun creating good stuff with them.

Disclaimer: Although I did receive a sample of hemphearts for free in exchange for a review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Now for the best part, would you like to win a free bag of hemphearts????? Manitoba Harvest will send one lucky reader a 2.5 oz bag of yummy hemphearts. All you have to do is comment below and follow Manitoba Harvest on one or more social media channels. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Note: This giveaway is open to United States and Canada residents only.

I will select one winner next Friday 11/13. Yes, on Friday the 13th 🙂

One last thing, I usually buy my hemphearts from sprouts or amazon but you can also get them directly from Manitoba Harvest and use promo code HHSP1015 for 20% off your purchase.

Have you tried hemphearts? Please leave me a comment below for a chance to win a free bag. Good luck!

Have a great weekend!

Marlene

Clean after Halloween

Hello

How are you today? I feel kind of like junk. Why? Because I over splurged on Halloween Candy. I always say I’m going to stay strong and resist the candy but who am I trying to fool? I’m human and I’m weak, especially when it comes to chocolate. I often hear, its ok as long as its in moderation but I also hear and believe that if there’s a certain food you do not have enough discipline to eat in moderation, you should not have it in your house. This my relationship with peanut butter and chocolate. Its bad. Can anyone relate?

Anyhow, I threw out all the candy today. Well, I didn’t throw it out, I sent it with my husband to work. Not for him, for his co-workers. Maybe that’s not setting the best example but I know they will eat it. I have this thing about letting stuff go to waste.

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Now, its time to detox. Here are some of the foods I enjoy after a splurge. It helps me feel clean and normal again.

First and foremost, WATER!

IMG_1414LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER! I usually drink 16oz first thing in the morning, followed by a hot cup of lemon water

For lunch my son and I shared some quinoa with apples, raisins and pecans. He didn’t want it but I made him eat it. Then, he realized its not that bad 🙂 Kids.

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For dinner, I made a big crockpot of my lentil and brown rice soup for dinner IMG_1408

For breakfast, I had a bowl of oatmeal with bananas, almond milk and hempseeds. My favorite. I usually have a smoothie or oatmeal but this morning was so cold and I needed something hot.

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Next I need to make a batch of these green smoothies. I missed them during the time while I was working full time and had time for nothing.

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I like to drink at least one smoothie a day. Usually for breakfast, after a workout or an afternoon “pick me up”

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Mango and Banana. That was my favorite this summer. Its making my mouth water right now.

And who can forget the chocolate frosty! This chocolate I never feel guilty about.

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Today is Taco Tuesday at my house, well according to my son. So as they have their turkey meat tacos I will enjoy some veggie tacos and sweet potatoes. Btw, I am vegetarian, my family is not. Although they eat a lot more plant based meals than they used to. I’m working on it.

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So there you have it. I enjoy eating healthy but I fall short sometimes so this is what I will be eating lately. I have 3 weeks until the next big temptation comes. Thanksgiving! Can you believe its November already? Where has this year gone?

I’ll be back with my hemphearts post later.

Off to workout and see my clients. Have a good day.

Marlene

Homemade Acai Bowl 

Hello

How was your Monday? I am not quite used to this time change yet and I’m still not sure why we have a time change anyway. Who enjoys it being dark at 5:00pm?

This weekend I made a yummy acai bowl. I recently went to a smoothie bowl shop and ordered one just like this. As I ate it, I thought this would be pretty simple to make myself and probably cost a lot less so I bought a large pack last time I was at Costco.

Do you ever feel like you’re speaking another language when you pronounce Acai? I still have trouble saying it correctly, according to my daughter.

IMG_1349I think it was around $10. Not bad for 10 individual pouches.

Btw, I just realized the picture on the front of the package looks a lot like the bowl I made. Trust me, I didn’t notice that until now. So I guess acai with bananas and granola is quite common afterall.

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They have some recipes on the back but I haven’t tried any yet.

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I used two of these packets for my smoothie bowl. One packet was not going to cut it.

I ran under water for 5 seconds like the instructions said, then I threw in my Ninja and blended away.

Next, I poured into a bowl, added some sliced bananas, granola and hempseeds and enjoyed every minute of it.

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Once granola was gone, I added more hempseeds. Yum.

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Quite yummy, I must say.

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Ingredients:

2 Acai pouches

1/2 banana (sliced)

Handful of Granola ( I wanted to make my own but didn’t have the time or patience so I bought the cleanest version I could find at my local Sprouts)

1/2 Tbs. of Hempseeds

Instructions:

Blend Acai and add toppings

How hard is that? It took less than 5 minutes to put together and if it took any longer, I probably wouldn’t be writing about it. Lol.

Speaking of hempseeds, I received this free sample from Manitoba Harvest a few weeks ago and I’ve been putting them on everything. Tomorrow I will be writing a review and holding my first ever giveaway. What? Hempseeds, of course 🙂

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Enjoy! Now I’m off to watch some Dancing with the Stars. Do you ever watch it? I’m a little obsessed.

Have a good evening.

Marlene

I’m back

Hello!

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Happy Monday! I’ve been away for a couple of months and I’m so glad to be back. Where was I? I got a full time job. To make a very long story as short as possible, I have been working part time in a chiropractic office and as a personal trainer for the last six years. This has allowed me to be home with my kids more and take them to and from school but this year our expenses were a little over the top. We had a sweet sixteen party for my daughter and paid nearly $600 in drivers training, just to name a few. So, I figured it was time for me to work full time and to make things even more challenging I worked full time and kept up with my personal training clients. Talk about busy. This only lasted a couple of month before I was beat to the ground from working two jobs and taking care of my family. I felt like I had no time for anything. On the weekends, all I wanted to do was sleep. A couple of weeks ago, I realized it was a little too much for me to handle as I started feeling sick all the time so I gave my notice and returned to my old job at the chiropractor and I couldn’t be happier. I am thankful my chiropractor took me back. He even bought me a coffee my first week back. 

  
Oh, I finally took my dog for a walk. He was happy.

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During our first walk in months, I got to see this lovely school garden down the street from me.

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It makes me smile every time I see it.

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So did those driving lessons pay off?

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They sure did! She passed on the first try with only a few minor mistakes. Yay!

Btw, I’m so glad to be back to my am workouts again! Rusty is happy too 🙂

I have some healthy food posts coming up this week and a hemphearts giveaway so stay tuned.

Have a great Monday! Off to work.

Marlene