Saturday, March 26, 2011

National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month.  This is great time to take a closer look at your current eating habits and see how you could make more nutritious choices.  Are you eating enough veggies?  Do you need to cut back on your salt intake?  Do you drink enough water?  There's a lot to think about when it comes to nutrition, but the most important rule to follow is: Eat a Balanced Diet.  That is pretty vague, but basically you can enjoy most foods in moderation.

Yogurt can certainly be a part of your balanced diet, and there are lots of brands to choose from depending on your budget and taste (I <3 Chobani).  Yoplait is one brand that offers a very large selection of flavors and options.  It is also fairly economical, so I enjoy incorporating it into my diet alongside other yogurts.  I recently received some information from Yoplait through MyBlogSpark that I'd like to share with you.  If you're interested, read on....

1. Start spring off right with Yoplait Light’s Two Week Tune Up Plan – Replace breakfast and lunch with a cup of your favorite flavor of Yoplait Light, a whole grain and a piece of fruit and you could lose 5 pounds in two weeks. Go to for full diet details.

2. Get more calcium with Yoplait Original style yogurt - Now with two times the calcium of the leading yogurt (50 percent of the Recommended Daily Value) in one convenient 6-ounce cup*, Yoplait Original style yogurt is committed to women’s health, offering a product that has even more of the calcium women need for strong, healthy bodies. Grab a free cup while supplies last during the Million Cup Giveaway on Yoplait on Facebook!

3. Try the newest flavor from Yoplait Fiber One – Yoplait Fiber One’s new Blueberry flavor yogurt is packed with filling fiber, calcium, vitamins A and D, real fruit and the great taste of blueberries. With only 50 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat, this deliciously creamy yogurt won’t break your calorie bank.

4. Stress less over snack time with Yoplait Kids yogurt – With a wholesome and fun snack like Yoplait Kids yogurt in the fridge, you can feel good about what your children are eating at snack time. Yoplait Kids provides an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D, and has 25% less sugar than the leading kids’ yogurt**. With yummy flavors, and favorite friends like Dora and Lightning McQueen on the packages, Yoplait Kids is a hit with moms and children alike.

5. End the day with a Delight Parfait from Yoplait – Even with two luscious layers providing a double shot of rich and creamy yogurt, these 100 calorie indulgences from Yoplait contain only 1.5 grams of fat per serving. Now available in two new flavors, Chocolate Éclair and Cherry Cheesecake, you can enjoy a dessert that’s 100 percent guilt-free.

*Leading yogurt has less than 25% Daily Value calcium per 6 oz.
**Yoplait kids has 9 grams of sugar per 3oz. the leading kids' yogurt has 13 grams of sugar per 3oz.
***Coupon offers for Yoplait yogurt are not valid in all states.

Take-away: Check out Yoplait on Facebook, become a fan, and get a free cup of yogurt while supplies last!  Who doesn't like free yogurt :-).

Disclosure: By posting this information, I have the chance to win a prize provided by Yoplait through MyBlogSpark.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

What a gorgeous St. Patrick's Day here at the University of Illinois!  The sun is shining, temps are in the 60s, a light breeze is blowing, AND flowers are blooming.  I am filled with the joy that only spring can bring :-). 

I decided to cook up a special dessert for myself today too: Tapioca Pudding.  I browsed a few recipes online and came up with my own crockpot version.  I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome:

Easy Crockpot Tapioca Pudding

3.5 cups milk
.5 cup small pearl tapioca
1/3 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla

I mixed all of the above together in my crockpot and then set it to high.  After about 30min. I stirred the mix and then turned it on low (since I don't have a medium setting).  I stirred it every hour or so and after 3hrs. turned it back on high for about 45min. until the pudding had thickened.

That's it!  You can add more or less sugar as you desire, in addition to other flavorings or spices.  You can even top it with slivered almonds or other nuts for an extra special treat. I think I'll be making this more often now that I've discovered I don't have to make it on the stove :-).


Friday, March 11, 2011

Speed Vegan Cookbook Review

Hello!  Book Publishing Company is running a special campaign during March and April called, "Live Delicious - Eat Vegan."  They'll be giving away a free vegan cookbook both months, and you can enter here!

I was sent a complimentary review copy of Speed Vegan, and I'll share my thoughts on it with you.  I'll even share a recipe from it!

I was excited to receive this cookbook because it promises, "Quick, Easy Recipes with a Gourmet Twist."  The "quick and easy" part captured my attention :-).

The book outlines essential kitchen equipment for vegan cooking as well as vegan pantry staples.  Both of these sections are very helpful and descriptive!  Then the book jumps right into an assortment of recipes (with some colored photographs too!).  Reading through the recipes, I thought that most of them would be relatively simple and quick to make.  They do call for ingredients that you might not necessarily have around (unless you already have a kitchen stocked with the vegan pantry staples as outlined in the beginning of the book).  Still, perhaps my kitchen is more bare than most because I'm relatively new to apartment life and don't exactly have a large budget to work with as a graduate student.  There are definitely a number of recipes that I will be able to try out after getting a few extra staples from the store.

The first recipe I tried from this book was Aztec Hot Chocolate.  Here is the recipe and final product:

I've never tried hot chocolate with pepper and thought it added a nice little bite to the drink.  I'll admit that I used red hot pepper instead cayenne since I had that on hand and figured anything hot would work :-).  I also used honey in place of the agave nectar.  I absolutely love agave nectar, but usually go with honey becuase of the cost.  In the end, I was quite pleased with the drink :-).

So, if you're looking for a vegan cookbook with some easy, flavorful recipes with a "gourmet twist," I would recommend Speed VeganBook Publishing Company has a great assortment of vegan and vegetarian books.  Even though I'm not personally vegan (or vegetarian), I truly enjoy vegan and vegetarian cookbooks as I try to eat a more plant-based diet. 


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mediterranean Snacks Giveaway Winner

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my Baked Lentil Chips giveaway sponsored by The Mediterranean Snack Food Company!

The winner is lucky number 1 via  That means SassyAgapi is the winner!  Congrats!  I'll be e-mailing you shortly.

In other news, I am sooo excited for Spring!  I've even started to ride my bike to class and work again as long as it's not raining/snowing and above 30 degrees (ideally 40 or more).  Riding the bus is nice and all, but biking is so much quicker.  I've also decided to experiment with biking after dark.  I very rarely did that last semester because I perceive it as dangerous.  I know a few other bikers who do it all the time though, so I decided to give it a try.  I've got blinking bike lights for the front and back of my bike as well as peddle reflectors.  So far it's worked quite well, and I just may be a convert.  I stick to main roads that are well lit and haven't had much trouble.  I think I'll look into a few more reflectors for my tires, etc. though just to be safe :-).

Have any of you or do any of you bike as a means of commuting?  I feel so empowered when I do :-).

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