Current Obsessions and Farmer Ben

Hi Friends!

Hope you’re having a great December! I wanted to stop in with some randomness today….

I have a lot of obsessions. Does that mean I have an addictive personality? Probably.

Here are some (mostly food related) things I’m too into right now.

1. Homemade Vanilla. I took a cue from Joy the Baker and starting making my own (the first batch was bourbon vanilla). A while back, we had picked up a bottle of fancy-schmancy bourbon vanilla at Homegoods or TJ Maxx…last night, I happened to glance at the price tag-$12 and the normal price was $17 for an 8 oz bottle! Gah! I just started a batch of Jameson Vanilla… the whole bottle of Jameson is somewhere around $25 and vanilla beans are around $1 a piece. Plus, if you get cute little bottles, these would make perfect presents for the foodie in your life (Note: there is a 6 week infusion period, so if you start a batch now, it would be perfect for Valentine’s Day!)

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Freshly bottled

2. Maple Syrup. Yes, I live in Upstate NY, so I’ve always appreciated (real) maple syrup…but lately, I have really taken the plunge. I’ve been using it as a replacement for regular sugars in recipes (like these carrot muffins) and adding it in my coffee smoothies or hot tea.

3.  Ninja Blender… Farmer Ben and I got a Ninja Blender as a Christmas/house-warming present (did I mention that we moved in November?) and I cannot tell you how much I love it. We’ve had it just over a week and I have used it almost every day. I’ve made two kinds of nut butter, pumpkin smoothies, carrot muffins… the possibilities are endless!

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Finished coconut peanut butter

4.  Healthy Skoop products. Remember when I did that review for their B-Strong protein powder? Well, I liked to so much that I decided to become a skoop retailer. Did you know that for every serving of Skoop sold, a serving of fruit and veggies is donated to a school lunch program? Pretty awesome, right? You can check out my shop here. AND, if you use the code cheers25 you can get 25% off your entire order from now until January 4.

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5.  Homemade deodorant…I sweat a lot… And a lot of natural deodorants don’t really work. But, I’m determined to find one that does. I used this recipe (is that the right word when applied to deodorant making?) I’ve only been using it for a couple of days, so I will keep you posted on the pit situation. To date, no crazy rashes or burning, and Farmer Ben doesn’t mind sitting next to me, so that’s a good sign!

Speaking of Farmer Ben, he turns 32 today! Happy birthday Darlin’, I love you!

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Ragnar ADK 2014

Your turn: What are you obsessed with (eating) lately?! 

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Real Talk: Skoop B-Strong Review

Hi Friends!

As promised, I am back to tell you a little bit about Skoop.

I was contacted about three weeks ago to see if I’d be interested in trying this product. After checking out their website and ingredient list, I decided to give it a shot.

Full Disclosure: I was sent a bag of Skoop B Strong in exchange for a review. Per usual, all opinions are my own. I was not compensated for my time.

Let me start off by saying, I prefer to get all of my vitamins and minerals from real food. I’ve never been one to take multi-vitamins or a pill or, for that matter, drink a protein shake. I know that there are people out there who need that something extra, but I personally prefer to eat my nutrients and typically am able to do so without any troubles (and to be honest, I’m not good at REMEMBERING to take a daily vitamin).

But…there are times I can’t eat as well or as much I want to…. Like when my husband opens a restaurant.

Confession: Since the restaurant opened, I’ve been struggling to eat enough high quality food. Most of my meals are eaten in a hurry, either while I’m driving to work in the morning, hovering over a counter while trying to do six other things at once, or scarfed down on my lunch hour while trying to take care of other items on my to-do list that I no longer have time for after work.

I’ve eaten more late night slices of pizza in the last four months than I care to admit… and my body has not been happy about it.

Don’t get me wrong, pizza is delicious and portable…but it’s not something I like to eat every day…or even every week for that matter.

I’d prefer to eat a salad every day… but when you’re running on 4 or 5 hours of sleep and trying to do everything in a hurry, salads are a lot of work. And take a lot of concentration to eat.

If you know me personally, you know that I am not someone who can go without eating. If I do, I become an absolutely miserable you-know-what. I’m also not someone who likes to drink their calories…because that never actually keeps you full.

Naturally, when I was contacted to check out this product, I was skeptical… but I figured it would be worth it to at least see what they had to offer.

So what is Skoop (From their website)?

B-STRONG is a plant-based protein blend. It contains prebiotics, mediterranean fruits, fatty acids, and higher carbs to make sure your body is properly using all the nutrients it can. Plant-based protein is more easily broken down and absorbed than protein from a steak, so your body can direct more energy toward healing and extra energy.”

Another plus? They use ingredients I can pronounce. It’s protein powder, but made from REAL foods.

“B-STRONG contains a well-rounded profile of nutrients, which every meal requires. Single plants generally don’t contain all the essential amino acids necessary to create a complete protein, so we used plants that complement each other. B-STRONG gives you all the essential amino acids your body needs to prevent muscle breakdown and loss. Use B-STRONG to help build muscle, recover faster, or just as a strength-building snack during the day.”

I also really like their business model and that they give back to the community. From the Skoop Website:

“That’s why we partnered with The Chef Ann Foundation, a non-profit that provides real, fresh fruits and veggies to public school lunch programs all over the country – programs that currently need to classify french fries, tomato sauce, and ketchup as vegetables in order to meet FDA standards.

For every serving of Skoop sold, we donate one serving of free, fresh fruits and veggies to a school lunch program. You buy a serving, you give a serving. And everyone can feel good about that. Literally”

So I decided to give it a shot.  What did I have to lose? If I hated it, I wouldn’t have wasted any money trying it out.

First things first, can I just say, I was absolutely floored when I got the package from Skoop? I was expecting a couple of sample packs … they sent me a whole bag!!! They also sent me five days’ worth of their A-game and a cute little shaker bottle! Wow!

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I immediately tried the powder with some water to see how it blended. The result? Minimal clumping, no weird chalky aftertaste and a lightly sweet vanilla flavor. I liked the flavor but I could tell right away that it would taste even better with milk.

Since then, I’ve been mixing it up with milk (cow, almond or coconut) and if I’m feeling fancy, some cold coffee. I’ve also added it to smoothies (with almond butter, almond milk, banana, spinach or kale and some cacao).

My favorite way to drink Skoop is with coconut water, almond milk, cacoa and maca powders. The cacoa gives it a nice chocolate flavor and the maca adds some nuttiness. I also really loved adding the A-Game to my morning smoothie for a double-whammy of nutrients.

My next plan is to make some energy bites or some peanut butter cookies with it.

So is this worth buying?

After having it almost daily for the last few weeks, I would say yes! Definitely!

I’ve been drinking Skoop for a quick breakfast or as a snack before going in to work at the bistro and I’ve been full. I feel energized and haven’t had any stomach issues (This is HUGE because, if you’re waiting tables, you don’t have time to run to the bathroom).

For a plant based protein, it doesn’t have any weird after-tastes and doesn’t cause any digestion/gas issues (I know you know what I’m talking about).

I also love the ingredient list and all of the micro-nutrients. Seriously, look at this!

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HealthySkoop.com

For all of that, a 30 serving bag is $67.

Skoop was generous enough to give me a discount code to share with you. Use the code “NOTEBOOK10” at checkout for 10% off your entire purchase.

Sidenote: My husband purchased a raw protein/meal replacement around the same time with an equally impressive ingredient list and though I like that one as well, I do notice, I wasn’t as full and had some of the previously mentioned protein farts (sorry, TMI).

Huge thank you to Skoop for sending me this product!

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Happy Wednesday, friends!

 


Currently

Hi friends!

Just popping in with a quick life update!
It has been a crazy couple of weeks around here and Farmer Ben and I were so thankful to both be off on Labor day! What is it about sleeping in that makes the world so much easier to take on???
Do you know what I mean???

Anyway… Here is a list of “currently…”

On the running front: After a lot of soul searching, I decided to drop down to the half for the Wineglass Marathon…. Training wasn’t going well and I was panicking about my long runs…I’d only gotten up to 14 miles and that was rough. In the end, I decided I would rather run the half for fun than try to run the full marathon hating my life and possibly injuring myself.

Because of this decision and a twist of fate, Farmer Ben and I are running the Adirondack Ragnar Relay this year! We can’t wait!

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I have to say, it is a relief to just go out and run, rather than worry about hitting a certain distance. Last night, Farmer Ben and I ran a speedy 4.5 miles (that almost killed me) and it was so nice to not worry about going too fast or having to hit a certain distance.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love distance running. I do… It’s just that right now, it isn’t working with everything else. And I have to accept that for the time being and do what is best for me.

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On the migraine front: I haven’t talked about my migraines in a long time. Long story short, I tried cutting out a lot of different things (caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy, etc) and nothing seemed to work. I finally decided to go off the pill as a last resort. It’s still a bit early to tell, but it seems to have helped. I haven’t had a migraine in two months!

On the food front: I’ve been eating in a hurry lately. As a result, I’ve been tired, sluggish and hungry…and my pants are a bit more snug than I’d prefer, but I’m not too stressed. It just means it is time to get back to meal prep and getting up early enough to make breakfast and lunch. I’m also back to logging on myfitnesspal for accountability (username nre820).

Something that seems to help is Skoop B-strong. I’ve been using it for the last few weeks and I LOVE it for a quick breakfast/snack. Not only does it keep me full, but it is also 100% organic and is SO GOOD for you! I’ll be doing a full review later this week.

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healthy skoop

On the book front: I finally read The Fault in Our Stars. Verdict: I loved it but I totally guessed how it would end… So sad. Now I have to watch the movie!

I also read Divergent (after seeing the movie). I really liked it… But did anyone else think that Four looked way older in the movie than he was described in the book? I was a little creeped out by this before I read the book.

Lastly, I started reading this a couple of weeks ago (before getting sucked into the other two books)!

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I am picking it back up tonight. Thoughts so far: I’m geeking out over the scientific stuff but some of it feels too gimmicky, like they are trying too hard to sell it to the reader. I’ll keep you posted on my final thoughts.

Can I just say that I love the library???

In other news: Farmer Ben and I started our first batch of homemade vanilla extract. I cannot wait to try it! Six weeks feels like forever.

We’ve been obsessed with tintos (tinto de verano). So simple and so refreshing! Half red wine, half orange/lemon soda (I love the blood orange variety in the picture) over ice.

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That’s all for today! Happy end of summer!

What have you been up to???