Sunday, April 13, 2014

Love My Schwinn

Winter is finally over here in Michigan, and I am making the most of the warm weather we have been enjoying recently. I’ve already taken my road bike (an older Schwinn) out for a couple 20 mile rides and love the feeling of speeding up (yes, this can be fun in moderation) and down hills with the *almost* summer sun beating down on me. Freedom never felt this good after such a long, cold winter. I am certainly not in prime cycling condition at the moment, but I think I will be back to where I was at the end of last summer in a month or so. I’ve got to make sure I’m ready for a few century rides this year after all.


What are you all doing to celebrate the end of winter? Starting new exercise regimes?


Sunday, March 30, 2014

U-Bake OATOMIC Energy Bar Review

Greetings my friends! April is almost here, and I am very much looking forward to heading outside more often and getting in some long bike rides. On my longer rides, I like to bring a snack to keep up my energy levels. I have recently found a new product that would work great for such a snack!

Lockhart Fine Foods has created a new product: the U-Bake OATOMIC™ Energy Bar. You purchase the dough (packaged in pre-portioned layers) and bake it at home. You can then easily bake a fresh, healthy snack at any time! Each 1.7 oz bar is loaded with oats, raisins, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and ground flaxseed, and sweetened naturally with applesauce and evaporated cane juice. These tasty bars are high in Omega-3's, low in sodium and free of refined sugars and preservatives. What a cool concept!



9.5 of 10! These sweet oat bars are light and airy, yet quite satisfying. I loved the crunchy nuts and dried fruit pieces. I was surprised at how flavorful they were too! Yum! They are also super easy to make and taste even better warm out of the oven. I definitely recommend these to anyone who likes energy bars and wants to try something new. You won't be disappointed!

Feel free to check them out on Facebook too!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mexico!!

Where have I been lately? Well, I left winter and cold, snow-covered Michigan for Mexico. It was an awesome decision and an amazing experience. My first time outside of the U.S. and Canada, it was a truly eye-opening and enlightening experience. Everyone I met was very welcoming, and I loved being challenged to speak and listen to Spanish. Below are some pictures from the trip:






Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winter Recipes! Snow Ice Cream and Snow Smoothies!

I cannot believe I've only discovered these two ideas recently - one from the radio and one of my own making (though someone else has probably discovered it too).

The first idea was one mentioned on the radio: snow ice cream. Living in Michigan this winter, snow is something we have had in abundance for the last three months, so now I am finally making good use of it.

Snow Ice Cream is simple. You take 4 cups of clean, fresh snow, 1/4 c. sugar (or 1/8 c. stevia), 1/2 c. milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix together and enjoy. What a quick, tasty winter treat!


Snow Smoothies are simple too. The snow replaces ice cubes and serves to thicken the smoothie and make it cooler. I have used snow in my morning green smoothies a few times so far with great results. One example recipe is below.

1 c. spinach leaves
1 frozen, slightly thawed banana
1/2 c. blueberries
1/2 c. milk (soy, almond, etc.)
1 c. snow

Mix all in a blender and enjoy! Snow is so much better than ice cubes - it's easier on your blender and mixes so well without any little ice chunks leftover that your blender might have missed.

Monday, February 3, 2014

ePantry Household Products Review!

Greetings my fellow readers!

Today I am going to share my review of ePantry with you. ePantry is a new service that helps busy people get high-quality, sustainable cleaning products delivered to their door on a regular basis, for less than what the grocery store charges. Their goal is to give you more time to spend on important stuff, rather than worrying about running to the store for more laundry detergent.

They have a great selection of quality, environmentally friendly products to choose from, and you must admit that there are few things better than having what you need delivered to your door... especially in the middle of one of the harshest winters in years.

Below are the products I was sent for my complimentary first order. As you can see, they have quite the variety.


I was very happy with all of these products, but my favorite was the Mrs. Meyer's liquid hand soap (closely followed by the Mrs. Meyer's soy candle). This was a new-to-me product, and I think it seems like common sense to clean yourself with a product like this made of natural ingredients and essential oils. That's what I call self-care... and caring for the environment at the same time.

Drum roll please.... You're all in for a treat! Just use the code: foodfotosandfun when making your first order and you'll receive 20% off your 1st order AND free shipping until 2015. Why not give ePantry a try? It's hard to go wrong with a discount and free shipping on quality products.

Enjoy ePantry! They're "making it easy to keep your home, family and our world clean."

Monday, January 6, 2014

Coconut Secret Review!

Greetings! Do you like coconuts? Have you tried many coconut products? What about coconut flour? I've tried a few coconut products in the past but have never actually baked or cooked with coconut flour. That has now changed!

Coconut Secret "began with a heartfelt desire to create a low glycemic, gluten-free snack line for diabetics." I think they have done so much more! They provide quality coconut products for all to enjoy! Coconuts have so many health benefits for all, such as improving heart health, reducing sweet cravings and providing a quick energy boost.

Coconut Secret was kind enough to send me their coconut flour to review (picture below from their website). I was so happy with this product! It has been great to bake with so far and has helped me create some delicious gluten-free cookies that my gluten-free friends have loved! See below for the recipe. I definitely recommend this product! 


Gluten-free Sugar Cookies (Adapted from this recipe)

1 egg
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 c. sifted coconut flour

Directions

Combine egg, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and butter. Mix well. Stir in coconut flour. Let mixture rest for 5 mins to allow it to thicken. Form dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Flatten. Bake at 375 for 15 mins. Enjoy!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! Ok, so I may be a few days late, but you still love me, right? Anywho, I'm excited for a new year to try new things (recipes, products, etc.), make new resolutions, and strive to be a better me.

Here are some goals I have:
  1. Cycle a century. 100 miles in 1 day.
  2. Take part in at least one multi-day bike ride.
  3. Go backpacking/camping for at least one weekend.
  4. Run a 10K trail race.
  5. Eat a healthy, balanced diet with LOTS of fruits and veggies.
I'll be sure to share when I accomplish these goals. Do you have any resolutions for the new year? If so, I wish you the best in your journey! Carpe diem!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas all! I hope your holiday season is filled with good food, family, and friends. Mine has been. :-) I am looking forward to another year with you all. Here are some winter pictures I took while visiting my parents in Iowa. What a stunning winter wonderland!





Thursday, December 12, 2013

SodaStream Review!

As a member of HouseParty.com, I recently received a complimentary SodaStream along with a party pack. I love that the SodaStream creates carbonated beverages in an affordable, sustainable way. Below are pictures from the party I brought my Soda Stream too. People enjoyed learning about how the SodaStream worked and trying a few different flavors. 





Above is the cake I baked with some homemade frosting, that turned out more like a glaze since I added a wee bit too much milk. Live and learn!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Chobani Greek Yogurt Review!

I love Chobani yogurt and am a huge fan. They keep introducing new products, and I am happy to share some of the new products I was sent to sample with you today. Chobani Greek yogurt is delicious, preservative-free, and healthy. It still boggles my mind when I introduce people to Greek yogurt who have never tried it before. If you're among that group of people, do give Chobani a try - you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Below are some of Chobani's new products and flavors that I reviewed:

Honey Ginger Bite: 9.5 of 10. This was so unique! I am a huge fan of ginger and loved this. I liked the pairing of honey and ginger. The flecks of ginger were a perfect addition.

Key Lime Blended: 10 of 10! I absolutely loved this flavor! I don't normally enjoy key lime, but this was a perfectly rich, thick, natural, and sweet flavor that tasted like a rich dessert - this is definitely a healthier option than key lime pie though.

Orange Vanilla Blended: 7.5 of 10. This flavor was okay, but the vanilla seemed to overpower the orange flavor and therefore I found it a little dull compared to their other options. To fully enjoy this flavor, I'd recommend some mix-ins or using this in a smoothie. Then you'll be golden.

Peachy Pistachio Flip: 9 of 10. I would have never come up with this flavor combo myself (peach, pistachio, and dark chocolate), but Chobani pulls it off. It's very flavorful, and all the flavors come through.

Blueberry Power Flip: 9.5 of 10. Blueberry is a standard flavor, but the addition of walnuts and hemp and chia seeds packs an extra punch... maybe that's why 'power' is in the name. (pictured below)


Almond Coco Loco Flip: 9.5 of 10. Almonds, coconut, and dark chocolate? This is dessert! What a lovely pairing of flavors. I'm a fan of these flips. (pictured below)


Tropical Escape Flip: 9 of 10. This treat is most definitely an escape. I could close my eyes and picture myself upon a sunny beach. While I enjoyed the yogurt more so than the toppings, I found the whole thing to be tasty, crunchy, and filling with a well-balanced pairing of pineapple and coconut.

So, what are you waiting for? Head to your local grocery store and try out some of Chobani's new products! I don't think you'll be disappointed.