Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sunshine Award & PB & J Protein Dessert

I was so excited when Leslee at Her Happy Balance nominated me for a Sunshine Award! I’ve never done one of these survey things because I didn’t think anyone actually cared that much about my personal life but……it’s definitely fun to do one once in awhile. Anyone remember those email surveys from middle school? I used to be ALL about them!

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Rules:
If nominated for this award, you must include a link in your blog to the person/blog that nominated you. You must also answer some questions about yourself, nominate fellow bloggers, link their blogs in your post, and inform them that they have been nominated.

Questions:

  • Who is your favorite philosopher? Ummmmm….this one?

Philosoraptor - If cookies are cookies and bacon is bacon why do we bake cookies and cook bacon

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  • What is your favorite number? I don’t really have a favorite number, but right now my favorite number is 08-02-13..my wedding day!

 

  • What is your favorite animal? Easy.

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Frank.

  • What are your Facebook and Twitter? I don’t have a Facebook for my blog yet….it’s a current goal of mine. I think I am putting it off because I’m too embarrassed to see how many people actually won’t follow it. No confidence. Follow me on Twitter! 

 

  • What is your favorite time of day? I really like mornings. I don’t know when I established myself as a morning person but I think it’s partly because of breakfast….and coffee.

 

  • What is your favorite holiday? Christmas is always cool……presents and crap. But my absolute favorite holiday has to be the 4th of July. Summer. Sun. Friends. Family. Food. It doesn’t get any better.

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Austin and I 4th of July 2012

  • What is your favorite physical activity?  Going to the gym mainly. I also go biking. We’ll see how that goes this year with my back and all. I’m mad because my Dad got me all this cool biking stuff for Christmas and I’m just hoping I get to use it by summer and my back will be all better!

 

  • What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink? COFFEEEEEEE. And water. I know I’m boring, but my philosophy is this: if it’s not alcoholic and it has calories, why even bother? 

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  • What is your favorite flower? Any flowers would be nice. You know that great feeling when you get flowers just because? >Hint Hint<

 

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  • What is your passion? Recently, with the help of the blog community I’ve become extremely passionate about food and healthy living! I love everything about the blog community and how it inspires and supports this lifestyle!

Nominees:

Eating Chalk

Running on Peanut Butter

Lessons Life Teaches Me

Fit Cupcaker

Cookie Dough Katzen

 

I also wanted to share what I have been eating for my late night snack every.single.night. this week. Yeah, it’s becoming a problem. A problem because I am going to use the last of the cottage cheese as I make this dessert AS SOON as I am done with this blog post.

It’s a spin off a dessert I posted about a couple of weeks ago, Almond Joy Protein Pudding. 

PB & J Protein Dessert

1/2 cup of fat free or low fat cottage cheese

2 tbsp PB2

1/2 packet of stevia

1/8 tsp of vanilla extract

Toppings of choice: I top mine with berries, peanuts, or sugar free jam to make a PB & J flavor!

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Just blend everything up in a food processor and spoon the yummy-ness into a bowl with a spatula. So addicting and a good dose of protein before bed!  It is 125 calories without the toppings and it fills me up. I promise I’ll stop with the PB2….I know I’m obsessed with it. It’s just so delicious and versatile!

What snacks/foods do you get addicted to and cannot stop eating? Tell me I’m not alone!

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How to save on health and beauty products at CVS

I have been dabbling in couponing for about a year now. I’m no expert by any means, but I feel like I represent the average couponer. I don’t spend countless hours clipping, printing and gathering deals just so I can stock up on useless items I’ll never use (i.e. TLC). I try to use couponing realistically to save on things I would use anyways. I already shared with you how I use couponing to save on groceries, and today I had a great CVS trip I wanted to share.

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CVS is a health and beauty store…if you’re not familiar with it it’s similar to Rite Aid. First off, you have to sign up for the Extra Bucks Card. Many stores like this one have a membership card (Rite Aid has the Wellness card). Extra Bucks allows you to receive rewards (actual coupons for dollars off) for buying certain products to use on future purchases. The thing I like about CVS is you can use the Extra Bucks the SAME DAY by doing multiple transactions and see your savings right then. Rite Aid caught on to us couponers and is now making us wait until 6 am the next business day to redeem rewards. Yeah, I can always go back the next day, but it’s annoying and I need INSTANT SAVINGS!!!!

You can always use websites like I am THAT Lady to find CVS coupon match ups……however her match ups and transaction ideas usually feature tons of products that

a) I would never use

b) I didn’t bother to cut the coupon for because I would never spend money on it

Yea, it’s cool to get stuff for free just because, but I really have no interest in spending countless hours matching up deals and cutting out coupons for stuff I would never use just so I can get free Depends, stool softener and Pepto Bismol.

Instead, I use the match ups and Extra Bucks rewards more conservatively and realistically. I might not get that 65 packets of heartburn medicine for 2 dollars….but I’m pretty pleased with the deals I do get. Here are some steps to use these deals realistically:

1) Cut coupons for things that you regularly use, not just brands you like. For example; cut all coupons for things like toothbrushes, toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and body wash even if it’s for a brand you don’t usually use. You can’t be a brand snob while couponing!

2) Start looking for deals BEFORE you are out of the items. The more desperate you are, the more you will spend on an item. There’s nothing worse than realizing you’re out of toothpaste and running down to the corner store and spending $4. Or just getting the cheapest toilet paper at Wal-Mart because you’re out. I start looking for items when I know I’m down to 1-2 of them in my storage. 

3) For each CVS trip, pick 1 –2 items that you need, have a coupon for that also give you Extra Bucks Rewards. For example, this time I picked toothpaste. It was on sale for 2.99 (regularly 4.49) and I had two coupons for $1 of one. So I got two toothpastes and used my coupons AND the deal was get $1 extra bucks for each.

4) Pick 1-2 more things that you need, that are on sale that you have a coupon for that don’t have Extra Bucks rewards. Use the Extra Bucks Rewards PLUS the coupons in a second transaction. Just tell the cashier you want to pay for the Extra Bucks items first (in my case the toothpastes), cash out, then pay for the rest of your stuff.

You could obviously pick way more than just 1-2 items for each transaction. I am THAT Lady has huge lists of detailed transactions that make my head hurt. I do it this way because it’s simple, I’m not wasting money on stuff I don’t need, and I don’t make the cashier and everyone in line too mad at me. Two transactions with a couple of items is fine with me!

Today, I got all this stuff for $12! It doesn’t look like much, but each of those mascaras retails for $9! And the toothpastes were 4.49 at first!

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So once you have your coupons, open up the CVS circular and see what you can get! Let me know how you do!

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Weekday Protein Pancakes: Two Ways

Pancakes on a weekday!?!? Way too good to be true. I usually don’t get up any where near early enough to make pancakes, but this week we were hit with some winter weather that had me getting up earlier than normal.

I don’t know why my brain works this way, but I figured since I was already getting up early because my normal 40 minute commute turned into an hour commute, I might as well get up even EARLIER so I could make pancakes.

I didn’t want super sweet indulgent pancakes. I have been struggling with feeling full and snacking so I wanted something with protein that would hold me over. Cereal has been making an appearance in my breakfast and I never feel full and satisfied and want to just KEEP EATING it because it’s so good.

After perusing a lot of the protein pancake recipes on the web and not really finding anything that fit the bill, I decided to wing it. The result: delicious, satisfying and surprisingly low cal.

They were so good on Wednesday that I made a variation of them on Thursday.

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Protein Pancakes: Two ways

Makes 1 serving: 200 calories (not including toppings)

1/4 cup cottage cheese

1/4 cup oats

2 egg whites

1/2 scoop designer whey vanilla protein powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Blend all ingredients in a blender and cook on a pancake griddle at approx. 350 degrees for 3-4 minutes on each side.

 

 

 

Texture: thin, dense and filling (not your traditional fluffy and light pancakes but delicious and filling).

Variation- Peanut Butter Chocolate Pancakes

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Add 1 tsp cocoa powder (omit cinnamon)

Replace vanilla protein powder with chocolate

Add a few chocolate chips (add after blending)

Top with peanut butter or PB2!

 

Equally as mouthwatering! Can’t wait to make more tomorrow!

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Tips for holding literature circles in the classroom

Today we kicked off literature circles in my classroom. Students are divided based on (sort-of) ability level into groups. The three books we are reading revolve around individuality, conformity and fitting in.

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The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Well, Fahrenheit 451 is a stretch…..it’s about a future society where no one is allowed free or individual thought, TV takes over the world and firemen burn books instead of put out fires. I wanted something challenging for some of my more advanced students…and it sort of fit the bill with ‘going against the grain’ and ‘individuality’ since the main character tries to break free of this oppressive society. Think Hunger Games. Anyways, here are a few things I’m using to help the literature circles run smoothly. Nothing groundbreaking in my opinion but class went well today!

Students assigning roles

This obviously isn’t a new idea. Each person picks a particular role including connector, discussion director, literary luminary and travel tracer. The roles will switch periodically. My co-teacher made this cool chart so students can keep track of which job is theirs.

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Students establish rules

Today, I had each group make two columns in their notebook- one for behaviors that might make the circles run smoothly, and one for anticipated problems. The students came up with this list.

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Ew my white board is gross

Then, I had them make a list of 5 rules the group had to adhere to. Most came up with rules like being prepared, staying on task and participating in conversation. Some students wanted to make up funny consequences for not doing the reading- like singing a song to the class or wearing a funny hat. They are harsher than I am!

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Distribute a reading calendar or schedule

I gave them a calendar with

1) The activities for that day’s class.

2)The homework due that day.

3) The homework due for NEXT class.

 

I hope that things go smoothly, I am quite nervous about having three different books going on at one time and keeping up with everything. Hopefully students will take responsibility and get the work done so I can just sit back and watch them learn!

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PB2: A Review

A lot of people have been asking me about PB2. And I, shocked that they haven’t heard about it, have been dispelling this information. I thought I’d give an actual formal review of the product and my experiences with it.

What is it?

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PB2 is like a peanut flour. It is peanut butter in powder form with out all the added fat and oil. There is 85% less fat and calories than regular peanut butter. You can read more about it at the company, Bell Plantation’s, website. The best part about it is it’s all natural! It’s perfect if you are addicted to peanut butter taste but don’t want all the extra calories. Here’s what the stats look like:

Serving Size: 2 tablespoons

Calories: 45

Fat: 1.5 g

Sugars: 1 g

Protein: 5 g

The caloric difference is amazing! Two tablespoons of regular peanut butter is nearly 200 calories!! They even have a chocolate flavor, which I haven’t tried. I probably should.

What do you do with it?

The PB2 website has tons of recipes to try. Personally, I think it works best in smoothies.

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It is also good in these coconut peanut butter pancakes.

cocnutIt also works well in oatmeal, but I have found you have to add AT LEAST two tablespoons to get a good flavor, or mix it with water first. Cookie recipes are another good way to use PB2, however, it is pricey! So I don’t usually want to part with a cup or more at a time!

I also like to mix it with a 1/2 cup of fat free cottage cheese for a late night snack!

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PB2 ‘peanut butter and jelly cheesecake dessert’

The PB2 can basically be used as a substitute for peanut butter, but I will warn you it takes some getting used to when eaten on toast, bread and other traditional ‘peanut butter’ things. The taste is almost the same as real peanut butter, maybe a little sweeter. The texture is thinner and less rich. I, however, don’t mind because it saves me the calories. Some people do mind and I’ll admit there are some times when nothing but real peanut butter will do!

Where can you get it?

The Bell Plantation website is a great place to order PB2 in bulk- believe me, you’ll need it! I’ve never seen it at traditional grocery stories. I usually buy it from either the organic grocery store in my hometown, or on Vitacost.

 

If you use PB2 already, what are some of your favorite uses???

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Grilled Banana and Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast

I don’t really have to go into too much detail about how much I love breakfast. But I do. Here are some snapshots from this weekend’s breakfast creations:

bananaoat

Coconut ‘cakes

Pancakes

 

Pancake Perfection

 

Since my weekend is still going strong (Thanks, MLK!), I decided to try something new today. My waffle maker is still on the fritz and I needed to use up the last of a loaf of bread, so I decided on French toast. After constructed, this recipe was too good not to share! I enjoyed it leisurely (since I have the day off…did I mention that?) paired with my French toast coffee!

frenchtoast

 

Serves: 1 Cook Time: 15 minutes

2 slices low calorie all wheat bread

3 medium egg whites

1 banana

3 medium strawberries

1 tbsp PB2

1 packet stevia

Cinnamon

Syrup of choice

I started by slicing the banana in diagonal pieces and placing them on a skillet that was heated to medium heat.

I sprinkled a small amount of stevia and cinnamon on them as they cooked. I cooked them for about 3 minutes on each side until browned (eh, they burnt a little).

Beat your egg whites in a bowl with about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and another sprinkling of stevia. When mixed, soak your bread in the mixture for 3-5 minutes while the bananas cook. 

When bananas are done, set them aside and place your bread in the pan. Let it cook for about 4 minutes on each side. Mix up one tbsp of PB2 with 1 tbsp of water and another sprinkle of stevia.

When bread is done, spread the PB2 mixture onto one piece of the bread.

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You could use real PB obviously, but I love PB2 because it saves so many calories!

Layer some of your banana and cut up strawberries on the first piece of toast.

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Top with the second piece of toast and the rest of the fruit. Drizzle with syrup of choice. Shove face.

 

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It was so good! The strawberries and peanut butter almost made it taste like a PB & J some bites. I also totaled the whole thing as < 400 calories with syrup. Definitely perfect for a lazy day off! I may not even go outside today. The temperature is hovering somewhere around 10 degrees. Ew. Is it summer yet?

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Breakfast Heaven

There really is no point to this post, I just am so ridiculously amazed at how delicious my breakfast has been the past couple of days, and I need to share it with someone who (might) care. Because no one that I’ve told has really cared. At all. And maybe you won’t. But I do.

 

This week for breakfast I discovered the joys of …..

MIXING CEREALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All I have to say is….

 

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I know, I know, groundbreaking. But I never really thought to do it and this week I just started throwing stuff into the bowl like:

Kashi, Honey Nut and Multigrain Cheerios, Blueberries, Blackberries, Greek Yogurt:

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Kashi, Honey Nut Cheerios, banana, chia seeds and almond butter.

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I then proceeded to pour my coffee into the cup I had just melted almond butter in. Another great delicious find. I love mornings. I love breakfast. And tomorrow is my faaaaavorite day! Pancake day!

I’m thinking about making a plate of these almond joy pancakes from dashing dish!

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I usually plan out which pancake recipe I will be making at least a week 1-2 days in advance. Which reminds me, does anyone have any advice for a uncooperative waffle maker? The first time I used it the waffles came out perfectly. Then the weekend after I tried making another recipe of waffles and it completely stuck to each side. So disappointing to open that waffle maker and see what is supposed to be a delicious, fluffy piece of heaven stuck to both sides of the iron, uncooked.

Yes, I am oiling the waffle maker pre-bake. I actually assumed that it was the ingredients that didn’t mesh well with the waffle maker, but this week while attempting to make chicken and waffles one night for dinner, it did the same thing. And this time with the recipe that I made the first time which came out perfectly. So I’m pretty angry with the thing. And I want waffles!!! Ok this post was pretty pointless but did manage to make me hungry, and make me want it to be breakfast time.

Any suggestions? What are your favorite breakfast items?

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Vocabulary Groups: Update!

Awhile ago I posted about the vocabulary word groups that I was doing in my classroom. That was when I first started the strategy. Now we’re about four ‘word groups’ in and I thought I’d give an update. I think so far this strategy is more successful than any other vocabulary strategy I’ve used.

I’m not going to say every single kid knows every single word inside out and upside down, but I am actually seeing them retain some of the words through repetition. Right now, we are doing the ‘important’ words.

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I haven’t left the other word groups (sad, happy and different) behind because the kids really need the repetition of the words in order to retain them. I have thrown the other words on quizzes, done review activities, and recently, the kids made Frayer diagrams using one word of choice.

I made word walls with them and posted the three word groups all over the classroom.

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Words that mean different

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Words that mean sad. Kids like to pick fun at me and my cat, Frank. I didn’t think this particular drawing was very nice.

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I would be very somber if Frank died! How rude!!

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Happy/Good words

Hopefully these word walls will help further reinforce the words as they will be looking at them every day. Just don’t know what I’m going to do when I run out of wall space for all of our word groups….. 

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Almond Joy Protein Pudding

There are a couple of go-to items that I reach for when it comes to ‘midnight’ or late night snacks. One of the old standbys has always been wheat toast with peanut butter sprinkled with ground flax seeds. I also have this with a cup of sleepy tea, and it has become a ritual for me as well as something that helps me relax from a long, hectic day.

Some of my other favorites include recipes floating around in the blog world like:

 

faux banana ‘ice cream’ (this is truly amazing; if you haven’t tried it GO NOW. I actually didn’t believe it would work until I tried)

Banana Ice Cream with One Ingredient

Source: Tastespotting

Peanut butter protein cheesecake from Dashing Dish (one of my favorite websites)

 

Peanut Butter Protein Cheesecake Mousse for One

Source: Dashing Dish

One minute chocolate cake in a mug <<< My favorite!!!!! I have perfected this recipe and it comes out with very little calories using applesauce for oil and coconut flour.

cake-forSource: Chocolate Covered Katie<<<<awesome website!

Tonight I whipped up a new recipe that I made up, and it ended up being delicious! I have been trying to cut back on calories by eating food that makes me feel full. I would rather have this filling protein before bed than carbs that my body won’t be burning off anytime soon. This is what I came up with:

Almond Joy Protein Pudding

serves 1/prep time 5 mins

Heaping 1/2 cup of non fat cottage cheese

1/2 scoop of chocolate protein powder

1 packet of stevia

1/2 tbsp coconut flakes

1/2 tbsp slivered almonds

A few chocolate chips!

Place the first three ingredients in the food processor until the cottage cheese becomes light and fluffy. Scoop out with a spatula and top with toppings!

If the cottage cheese grosses you out you could always use plain greek yogurt.

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You could also modify this recipe adding banana, peanut butter, or any other yummy toppings!

Enjoy!

Question: What are your go-to midnight snacks? Any suggestions for low calorie options?

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Quinoa Power Bowl

falls    Wow- it’s almost been a week since I posted. I apologize to the millions of people  1 person who reads my blog. It’s been a really crazy week with appointments in order to figure out what’s going on with my back. It’s gotten way worse. I officially cannot do any sort of work out besides walking. I have to get an X ray and an MRI. This has me really down but I am trying to stay positive. I hope that with physical therapy I can get back to normal within reasonable time so I can go back to exercise in time to fit into my wedding dress.

So far it’s almost been a month since I stopped high intensity work outs and I haven’t seen much change. I’m focusing on eating clean and trying to cut out calories that I might have eaten when I was working out a lot like extra protein and snacks. I’m finding I can get away with smaller, less protein packed snacks and not be as hungry because I’m not working out and burning calories.

So stressful, but people have way worse problems than not being able to work  out so I’ll shut up.

We took an impromptu trip to Niagara Falls last night! It was really fun….we met friends for dinner, spent time at the casino, and stayed in a pretty nice hotel. It was kind of lame that we couldn’t cross to the Canada side, which is way better, but I’ve been there lots of times so it’s no big deal. We settled on staring longingly at it instead. Here’s some pictures from the trip:

 

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It was windy! But almost 60!!!!

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Oooohhh Canada

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The best part of the trip: they had Starbucks in our hotel!!!! We had a ten dollar voucher to spend so I had their ‘perfect oatmeal’. It was so good! They gave me little packets of dried fruit and nuts to mix in. And they still had holiday cups!!! Ok I’m way too excited about Starbucks.

When we arrived home I didn’t really feel like cooking all that much for dinner. All we had was chicken in the fridge and I had just eaten two chicken dishes both times we ate in Niagara Falls. I decided to throw together this Quinoa bowl and it ended up being recipe worthy!! So delicious and filling.

Quinoa Power Bowl

Serves: 1  Cooking Time: 20 mins

1/2-3/4 cup cooked quinoa

1/2 of an onion

1 tsp of garlic

1 egg

1/2 cup cooked broccoli

Seasoning: salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes

Hot sauce for topping

First, cook 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup water (simmer on low for 15-20 minutes). While it is cooking, put some oil in a sauté pan and add garlic. When fragrant, throw in the onion and cook until translucent. Set aside. Spray your pan again and add the egg. Fry egg to desired done-ness.

When quinoa is done, add it to a bowl with the onions and add seasoning. Chop up the broccoli and add to bowl. Finally, top the whole thing with your fried egg and hot sauce!

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That’s hot sauce, not blood. Dexter, much?

 

This was one of the better recipes I’ve made with quinoa. Must make again!

Question: What creative ways do you cut out calories? I’m definitely going to need to work on this!

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