December 2015

Hello

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I’m just trying to soak in every last minute of it because this year is almost over but at the same time I’m so excited for a new year and a fresh start. Goals, goals, goals.

As hectic as the holidays can be, I have tried to relax and enjoy time with my family as much as possible. I did most of my shopping the week of Thanksgiving.

As much as I wanted to buy my family everything they wanted, I am proud to say I refrained from over spending and stood on the smaller budget I set for myself. It wasn’t super hard because I found some amazing deals on black Friday which allowed me to buy a little more than I normally would. Early shopping kept the stress level down and I also avoided the stores as much as possible the week of Christmas.

As far as diet goes, well that’s been a little less than perfect being that I have a wicked sweet tooth. There has been temptation everywhere I look.

Starting with my son’s class on the last day of school.

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At work we had constant gifts from our patients. Why cookies? Why?

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Christmas decorating is kept very simple in my house.

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A tree, some lights and a wreath pretty much sums it up.

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I have this thing about putting up a lot of decorations and taking it all down 1 month later. As much as I love to decorate, I prefer it to last a little longer. Make it pretty but keep it simple.

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I enjoyed playing with the filters on my phone.

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I bought my tree at Target a couple of years ago for around $50 on sale. I love having an artificial tree. Its much less hassle than the real thing.

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Rusty loved his new toy.img_0232And his new blanket.

My son has been pretty helpful around the house during his winter break. He’s done laundry, washed dishes, and more. I guess a little extra allowance around Christmas time is motivating.

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What I have enjoyed most about this month is spending a little extra time with my family. I’m looking forward to us having more time off this week for New Years.

Any big plans for New Years? We are planning on keeping it simple. First church, then a quiet evening at home. My husband and I have been out on New Years Eve and found that its usually crowded and overpriced. In other words, we would rather be at home warm and cozy. And for free.

I have some catching up to do on this blog 🙂

Talk you soon.

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

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

Vegan weekend Part 2

Hey

How is your week going? This post is part two of my vegan weekend which was suppose to be posted over a  week ago but I got super busy and didn’t get to it; but it’s never too late to share good food, right?

Although I eat a lot of vegan food, I’m still vegetarian especially on the weekends. That’s usually when I splurge on something like pizza but I’m trying hard to move away from that routine of eating so healthy during the week and eating whatever I want on the weekends so I made it a goal to eat vegan all weekend. It felt great. I didn’t feel deprived one bit. I actually enjoyed it.  Since we barbecued I had to be creative so I searched vegan BBQ recipes on Pinterest. Don’t you love Pinterest? 

  

Mushroom, zucchini and onion kabobs. Marinated with some liquid aminos, salt and pepper. Yum.  

I found a lot of great recipes but some were a little too complex for my taste so I made my own simplified versions.  

Sweet potatoes. My Favorite!

I simply brushed them with grapeseed oil and sprinkled with Italian seasoning.    My potatoes took longer than expected. Maybe it was the way I cut them. We had to start dinner without them But when they were done, they were so good!

 

So there’s a glimpse of some of the food we barbecued on a very hot vegan weekend. What foods do you enjoy on the weekend?

I’ll be back soon to tell why I’ve been so busy.

Marlene 

Vegan Weekened Part 1

Hello

I hope you had a nice weekend. How was the weather where you live? We had a triple digit weekend but that didn’t stop us from going about our usual routine which included some High Intensity Interval training in our garage (aka our home gym) At this point, the temp was 91 degrees so it made for a super intense workout.

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The picture I posted on snapchat Saturday.

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The HIIT workout was only 15 minutes in duration but felt like 30 with the short rest (15 seconds) and hot temp. It was one of those workouts that made you feel proud when you finish. Like, how did I just do that?

Following the workout we took our dog on a walk in the heat. Are we crazy? Sometimes. When we got back I needed fuel ASAP so I made this smoothie which made me feel alive again.

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Ingredients:

1 Frozen Banana

1 Fuji Apple

1 celery stalk

1 handful of spinach

16 ounces of Almond Milk

1 scoop of Sunwarrior Protein

Blend all ingredients and Enjoy.

Note: I made a larger than normal serving to share with my husband and son.

One more thing, its only on weekends that I have patience to use this many ingredients. During the week, its two ingredients max because its much more enjoyable when it’s simple right?

People sometimes say I’m crazy for working out in hot temps but I always feel looser and more efficient when its hot. Maybe not 100 degrees, but 80 always feels good. How do you feel about working out in the heat?

Tomorrow I’ll be back with what I made for dinner.

Have a great day!

Marlene