Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Want to try some Stevia in the Raw? (giveaway)


First off, Erik and I got to lift together tonight for the first time in a really long time … hooray!!! : ) I missed my lifting partner.

Now for the long awaited only-a-day awaited unveiling of my packages. First off, from my mom.

She picked me up some fun things from my aunt’s store Close to Home in Le Mars, Iowa.Picture 408

Homemade clothes soap and body soap (above), a small WoodWick candle (I love those!!) and some Hazelnut Creme home mist (below).

I’m excited to use the soap, especially the clothes soap. (My thoughts on it will follow later ; )

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She also included a lovely Fall wreath that’s from my grandma that fits perfectly on my door and makes it officially feel like Fall. Thanks Mom and Grandma : )

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Next up, I had a surprise package at my door from Stevia In the Raw. I recently did a review on their product and after trying it decided to switch from Truvia to Stevia in the Raw because of these reasons. (But in summary, it tastes better and it’s cheaper!)

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Included in this package was a box of Stevia in the Raw and a bunch of sampler packs with coupons so I can share the wealth!

Sooo of course I’d love to share the wealth with all of you!

If you aren’t sure what natural sweetener to use or if you’re looking for a Stevia sweetener that doesn’t taste bitter look no further. Erik and I were both very impressed with this sweetener. (Ha, and, no, I’m not even getting paid to say this, it’s just true -- but getting paid would be nice too! lol)

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Now for giveaway time!!! 5 lucky winners will win 5 sample packs each. Included in these sample packs are 2 Stevia packets and a $.40 off coupon (see above) so you can try your own box.

To enter: leave a comment telling me what you currently use as a sweetener (or about anything else).

And like always you can earn extra entries by tweeting about this giveaway and linking it to your own blog. (Just let me know if you did those things in separate comments, if you could ;)

This will be open for one week, so until Tuesday, October 6th.  Good luck and happy sweetening!!



-note to anyone who lives near me or I know in “real life”… as you can see by the box above, i’ll still have samples left so if you want to try some just let me know and i’ll hook you up!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Birthday, Art Fair, Juice

Even though my last post said it, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIK! (Since today is officially his b-day).

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We had a wonderful and fun weekend! After our great weekend in which I didn't blog aaaand after getting two packages in the mail today I feel like I have tons of stuff to talk about! Ha, where to begin ... First off, a few picture recaps of the weekend. One of the highlights was going to the Plaza Art Fair in KC.

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It was really neat with over a hundred "booths" of artwork, photography, jewelry, pottery, etc created by artists from all over the place.

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After walking around in the sun with not enough water in us we were hungry! We grabbed some food from one of the restaurant stands. Pretty much all of the restaurants in the Plaza had a little stand outside with "quick" foods. We decided on The Capital Grille. Erik got the steak sandwich with caramelized onions and a goat cheese spread.

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And I got a grilled chicken breast sandwich. Both were VERY good.

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(We attempted to re-create a form of the steak sandwich last night for dinner, I'll share that later).

And no trip to KC is complete without stopping at KC Juice for an on-the-way home smoothie. Picture 371

This time I remembered to get wheat grass in it unlike last time ; ) I love KC Juice!

Hope you all had a great weekend. Stick around for the unveiling of my packages and a giveaway. (Sounds so exciting, doesn't it?? ; )

How was your weekend?


Friday, September 25, 2009

Birthday weekend; music, how we met


(ha, my husband’s birthday is on Monday so it’s officially his birthday weekend). Picture 267

He often likes to sit and listen to music for hours and then fumble around on his guitar and our really old piano and I snapped some pictures of him the other night.

Erik loves music and the house is rarely ever silent unless I’m home alone, ha.

He even has a guitar signed by the man in black himself…  Johnny Cash is one of his favorites. (We won’t mention that he bought it at a hefty price off of eBay one night after having consumed too much alcohol back in his crazy days, haha :s)

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Not only is it his birthday weekend but we also started dating three years ago tomorrow (26th).  

I was thinking today about how we met. Believe it or not, it was technically over Facebook. Long story short, I was a few months away from moving to MO (where he already lived) from NE (where I grew up) and I had something on my profile page about our church and while he was doing a Facebook search for someone else from church my profile picture was the only one the popped up. He added me (probably because he just couldn’t resist my dashing good looks ; ) and sent me a message saying hi. I messaged him back saying hi. That turned into many e-mails and instant messages the next few months and when I officially moved here with my best friend, Danelle, we met in real life and the rest is history(I could share more details if anyone is remotely interested but I don’t want to bore you all for now ; )

When we first became Facebook friends it wasn’t a really long time after his Mr. Missouri bodybuilding show so this was his profile picture:


In one of my very first messages back to him at the very end I included “P.S. You have nice muscles, lol”.  I really just meant it in a “Whoa, you have large muscles” kind of way but we laugh about that now because it’s completely not something I would just say to some random guy I don’t know at all because I’m actually a very shy person! haha.

I love my husband.

Anyways, I probably won’t be around much this weekend because we’ll be in KC most of the time. (Going to the Plaza Art Fair and attempting to completely spoil Erik all weekend).

I might stop in tomorrow, not sure yet … either way … have a fabulous weekend!! : )



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spaghetti squash

Hey guys!

Here is what our dinner involved:

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Spaghetti squash! (disclaimer: the following plate is a small one, ha)

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  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 lbs lean ground turkey (this was for dinner and next day’s lunch … I’m all about making extras and my husband eats a lot!)
  • small green pepper
  • small red pepper
  • half of large onion
  • large tomato
  • 1/2 can no salt added diced tomatoes (I prob would have used a whole can but I had a half left over from something else ; )
  • spinach (as desired)
  • pepper
  • sea salt
  • EVOO
  • garlic powder
  • balsamic vinegar
  • red wine vinaigrette


  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and back face down at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
  2. Near the end of the squash baking,  chop and sauté veggies in a little bit of EVOO, brown ground turkey and add seasonings and vinegars. (Add spinach and  tomatoes near the end).
  3. Take squash out of oven and let cool for few minutes, then using a fork scrape the “spaghetti” out into a medium sized bowl.
  4. Mix together spaghetti and meat mixture, top with cheese if desired, (I used Parmesan) and enjoy!

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I really like spaghetti squash! Erik doesn’t care for it as much as me but he still likes it once in awhile. 

What’s your favorite way to eat squash (any kind)?

(I have some butternut squash I need to use soon … any suggestions?)



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Grass shots & turkey chops

Hi again : )

This morning I tried my wheatgrass in a slightly different way. My fellow native Nebraskan friend and fellow blogger Andrea suggested a wheatgrass shot. So that’s what I went for today. I mixed 2-3 inches round bunch of wheatgrass with a little unsweetened almond milk.

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Only problem? There’s only so much “juicing” a blender will do :s  This was much more bearable than my huge smoothie yesterday morning but I need a juicer!

See what I mean?

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Dinner tonight was turkey breast cutlets with a fresh chopped tomato and some kale sautéed in balsamic vinegar. (So good with balsamic!) Alongside I had some brown rice and mixed veggies.

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And here’s Erik making a weird face.

This poor guy has had some much trouble and complications with a dumb and really bad sinus infection that started almost two months ago. Just as we think it’s actually over on his last day on his medicine, yesterday he had an allergic reaction to some pills they had him on and had horrible stomach pain and hives all over his body, among other things.

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(He had some Annie’s mac ‘n cheese with his dinner, his stomach hasn’t been to nice to him lately with all this medicine/sinus business and mac ‘n cheese is easier on it. )

And that’s about all here. We’re watching Biggest Loser. It’s our first season watching it and I’m already kind of addicted :s

Bye for now!!



Monday, September 21, 2009

Wheatgrass smoothie

I’ve been in the mood for some different greens lately and had my heart set on some kale because it’s been far too long since I’ve had any.

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After I got my kale and as I was wondering in the grocery store to see how much organic spinach was, I spotted some organic wheat grass. I got super excited and was very surprised to see it there! Erik was moving on and I said, “Erik, wait! Look!” And if anyone saw me, they probably thought I was weird.

Oh well … of course, I had to get it.

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The only wheat grass I’ve had thus far in my life is Amazing  Grass wheat grass powder. Ever since I ran out of that I’ve been wanting more, not to mention the fact that there was just an article written by Tosca Reno about the health benefits of wheat grass in the latest Clean Eating magazine.

Some of those benefits include:

  • Cleanses and detoxifies the body
  • Increases and sustains energy
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Helps purify the blood and boost its circulation
  • Perfect balance of nutrients and especially high in calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and potassium
  • Contains all 20 amino acids
  • Prevents tooth decay
  • Aids in digestion
  • Helps balance thyroid function
  • Cleanses the liver

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So, this morning I had some wheat grass in a green smoothie.  Upon cutting some of the grass I got a little worried because it smelled VERY grassy. 

I didn’t ever mind the taste of powder wheat grass in smoothies, but didn’t know how different this would be. I did my best to make my shake a complete breakfast and also drown out some of the grassy flavor.

Here was my combo:

  • 2-3 inches round wheat grass
  • 1  small banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2-3 handfuls spinach
  • small handful oats
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 2 packets Stevia in the Raw
  • ice

Picture 238The overall result was not what I had hoped for. This is a normal combo I have if I’m rushed in the morning and have a smoothie for breakfast, only thing being different of course, wheatgrass.

The problem: it still smelled very grassy. Honestly, if I couldn’t smell it, the taste wasn’t half bad, buuuut we all know I could smell it, ha.

 Being hardcore and all, I took it like a man and still drank it all. (It filled the below cup plus my Amazing Grass shaker which I took with me to work after finishing off this glass at home).

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I tweeted about my experience and I got a response from @amOrganics to try using a touch of lemon or honey to curb the bitter taste so I might try that.  Only the bitter taste wasn’t what bothered me, it was the grassy smell! Ha.

Perhaps it’s just an acquired taste … but I’m determined to acquire it!! I’m also thinking a juicer would probably work better than a blender buuut I don’t have a juicer so my blender will have to do.

Does anyone have any wheatgrass tips for me??



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Too much flour, too much food, amazing portabella pizza

Hello! Hope everyone’s weekend was fabulous! Mine went by too fast and I’m pretty sure I ate too much, ha!

Part of the reason I ate too much was because of these babies … whole wheat chili chocolate chip cookies topped with hemp seeds. (I used  a 74% cacao chili dark chocolate for the “chips”).

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Erik pretty much NEVER requests cookies (he’s more health conscious than me though I’m quickly catching up with him, ha) and IF he does he never wants them to be cookies with flour. (Here’s a good description of why we don’t usually eat a lot of things with flour in case you’re wondering … basically, it’s still very processed and has a high GI)

However,  the medicine he’s had to take for his sinus/ear infection/whatever it is, problem has made his eating habits very weird and he wanted a faster digesting cookie so I made these. Picture 199

When cookies are in the house, I have a hard time resisting them! (Ha, which is why they rarely are). 

Last night, we decided it would be pizza night. It was kind of late in the evening so instead of making crust, which I would have rather done, we just bought some whole wheat crust.

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  • Tomato paste
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Little bit of olive hummus
  • Freshly sliced mozzarella
  • Some reduced fat tomato basil feta cheese
  • Lean ground beef
  • Little bit of shredded cheese
  • Seasonings

I opted to have mine on a large portabella mushroom (YUM!) so that I wouldn’t have anymore flour after all those darn cookies I ate.

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This was my first portabella mushroom pizza experience and it was pretty much amazing!

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And extremely filling!

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But I still had dessert … a couple small cookies (yes, more) and a cottage cheese/raspberry mixture.

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I find that the less hardcore I workout, the more food I want to eat. When I was faithfully lifting hard 5-6 days along with morning cardio I never wanted to just keep eating, nor would I have wanted so many cookies.

Picture 194                p.s. my favorite magazine came!

I love food and I love cooking and baking healthy foods. But if I’m not at the right balance of working out/eating, I tend to love eating that food way too much too, ha.  I’m not sure why that is but I’m thinking maybe because my post lifting shake packs a pretty big punch and easily satisfies any lingering craving for sweets?

Oh well … just some random recent observations that no one probably cares about but that I shared anyways ; )

Hope you had a great weekend!!



Friday, September 18, 2009

POMx Tea

POMx Tea

First off, thanks again Molly & POM for offering me a sample of some POM products again.  In case you missed it, here is an earlier review of POM’s 100% Pomegranate juice (it’s definitely recommended by me and fun to cook with ; )Picture 400

Upon receiving this tea, I almost immediately drank the Pomegranate Hibiscus Green tea because it was the light tea. I enjoyed it because for the most part, I love everything tea. However …

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Here’s my random thoughts about POMx Tea:

  • Taste = I liked all the flavors but didn’t absolutely love any of them.
  • I don’t particularly like drinking calories (unless it’s a shake after a workout, etc) and I mostly just stick to regular tea or water so that may be part of the reason I’m not raving about this tea.
  • I realize that a little less than 200 calories isn’t an enormous amount but I’d just rather have no calorie (or sugar) regular tea and I’d enjoy it just as much, if not more.
  • I wish there was no fructose in it (see nutritional stats), and though it may be more “hardcore” I wish this tea was simply POM juice and straight up tea with no added sugar, that would make me enjoy it more. (Maybe I’m weird, I don’t know??)
  • I probably wouldn’t ever just buy this tea to drink. If I was getting anything it would be regular POM juice.
  • I did put a little bit of a few of them in protein shakes and it was an excellent way to add some flavor.
  • Bottom Line: I loved trying this tea, but as far as POM products are concerned, I’ll stick to the juice!

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Ha, and this might make me really weird but honestly my absolute favorite part of this package was the pen.  I love pens and this is my current favorite! : )

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So thanks again, Molly and POM! : ) You can see more of POMx tea on their Facebook page. (But I say you just go straight to the POM juice!)

What’s your favorite POM product?? (btw one reason I’m looking forward to winter is eating tons of pomegranates!!)

Have a great weekend!




Thursday, September 17, 2009

Savory oats?

One of the many reasons I love this foodie/healthy living blogging community is for new food and fitness ideas. Well … after asking “what’s your all time favorite combo with oats?” yesterday, I discovered my absolutely delicious dinner for tonight.

Savory oats.

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Thanks, Erica! She told me that anymore she’s loving savory oats with things like hot sauce, veggies, beans, etc, verse sweet oats. This intrigued me and thus dinner was born.

My savory oats included:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 can tuna
  • peas
  • Freshly chopped red pepper
  • Freshly chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 fresh chopped tomato
  • pepper
  • dash of balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • chili powder
  • parmesan cheese

Result? Yum!! Added bonus? A metabolism boost due to the hot red pepper flakes. I’ll take it!Picture 165

It was a wonderful tasting and very quick dinner full of flavor!

In other news, Erik has sinusitis again (or still … whichever).  It’s been well over a month now. Ugh. He went to the doctor again today and got some drugs so hopefully he’ll rest up and get rid of it for good.

Who’s ready for the weekend??  I am! Hope your evening/day/morning is wonderful!




Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Not an option; oats in a jar

Thanks for all your “working out in a hurry” ideas and thoughts. I definitely enjoy hearing what everyone else does when they don’t seen to have “enough” time. The consensus seems to be splitting up your workout throughout the day.

  I especially appreciated Josie’s answer of,

“The most important thing I do when I'm pressed for time and need to workout...I convince myself that I *do* have the time and skipping the workout is not an option. Then it's all gravy, or shall I say a piece of (jocolat) cake?”

That’s a great way to get the job done!

This is what I had for breakfast … oats in a jar! (Lindsey had this for breakfast too, good choice, Linds ; )Picture 161

So who started the blogger oats-in-a -jar craze anyways? I don’t even know.  But it was a great idea!

I never seem to think of this when I have an empty jar until aaafter I dispose of it but this morning I did! Ha.Picture 157

I know I ate a tad more PB than I should have because an “empty” jar actually houses more PB than it seems! Buut I figure one morning splurging of PB wouldn’t kill me ; ) Picture 159

This is 1/3 cup oats, half a banana, almond milk, cinnamon, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, and Stevia in the Raw. Yum, yum!

As you can tell, it was a large jar so it doesn’t look like much but it sure filled me up.

I’m in a banana/oats combo mood right now but I think my all time fav so far is tart cherries and oats.  What’s your absolute favorite combo with oats?



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

German chocolate cake, 14-minute boot camp fat blast

Today I tried one of these:Picture 136

I was excited when I saw them as I was walking by the bars at the grocery store the other day to see the other new flavor of Lara … finally. I couldn’t help but buy a couple to try.  First off, I haven’t had any other Jocalat kinds before, how do they taste compared to the new kind??

Anyways … I was very surprised (pleasantly, I might add) at how moist this baby was, A LOT more “cake-ish” than I expected. I really liked it.

And here’s my Amazing Grass shaker saving the day as I was hurried for lunch today and was forced to have half of my lunch in shake form.

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My lifting schedule has gone to pieces lately because of lack of time. With Erik’s dad being sick, it just hasn’t been top on the priority list.

I can easily fit in cardio every morning but lifting after work hasn’t been so easy and my recently gained muscles are starting to dwindle a bit.  So today … I got a chance to lift and here is me excited to be able to!

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I’m grateful for Oxygen magazine and some of their quick workout ideas. Today I kind of did their “14-minute boot camp fat blast” twice around (I switched it up a little bit). Twice around took my about 45 minutes which isn’t bad for a quick full body workout.

I like to work a different muscle group every day but since I haven’t been able to do that, I decided for this quick workout that hits all the major muscle groups.

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Basically, I did about eight different exercises, doing as many reps as I could in 60 seconds, and I did two circuits. Mine went something like this:

  1. Plank push-up with rotation; 60 seconds
  2. Prisoner squats; 60 seconds
  3. Weighted crunches; 60 seconds
  4. Alternating front lunge; 15 lb dumbbells in each hand; 60 seconds
  5. Alternating dumbbell chest press; 20 lb dumbbells; 60 seconds
  6. Bicep curls; 20 lb dumbbells; 60 seconds
  7. Dumbbell rows; 15 lb dumbbells; 60 seconds

I did each exercise one right after the other with a very minimal rest period and took a couple minutes rest after the first circuit. It got me sweating pretty good so I suppose this was definitely better than nothing!

Since I’m not lifting as often as I want to, my lifting goal is this: When I have time to lift, push myself and lift hard.

And that’s all for tonight. How do you work out when you’re pressed for time??



Monday, September 14, 2009

Picture day & question

Hello all! : )

Today at Lesley Living Life, it’s unofficially picture day! Picture 118

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And just so I’m not neglecting food, here’s some grapes from my mom’s garden that are de-lish!Picture 095

I asked this on Twitter earlier today but for you who aren’t on Twitter …


What’s the difference between being nice/putting others first/being humble verses being a people pleaser & when does it become a negative thing?

Hope your week is off to a great start!



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