Tuesday, October 30, 2012


This past week I have gone absolutely nuts over coconut! I finally got around to trying some sample packets of Artisana's coconut butter and oil that I received in various sample packages this past year. It is delicious! I especially love the cacao butter with bananas.

 Or, using the regular butter or oil to make french toast.

After reading about Nikki's Coconut butter on Tina's blog, I decided to order some. If you use the coupon code "COCO10" you get 10% off your order. Also, if you order 5 or more jars, shipping is free.

I got Vanilla Cake Batter and Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie.

I've only tried the Vanilla Cake Batter. It tastes deliciously coconut-y and vanilla-y. :) It's not as smooth
as Artisana though, which is sad. I really love how Artisana is creamy and melty.

I decided to use some of my new coconut butter to make a recipe from Nikki's website.

Coconut Pancakes
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bananas
  • 4 Tbsp. Coconut Butter
Mix together well. I used an immersion blender to make sure my mixture was homogenous.

Then cook in a non-stick pan. I had some trouble cooking them. Here is a picture of the only decent-looking pancake that I got:

The rest kind of turned into a pancake stir-fry. O.o The coconut butter made these pancakes taste deliciously rich. If you've been making the two-ingredient pancakes that have been making their rounds around the internet, then try adding some coconut butter to make them even better!

~ Susan

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pile on the Miles

pile on the miles 2012

Pile on the Miles is an annual blogging event. It's a challenge to walk or run more during the month of November. The goal is to pile on extra miles, not pounds, during this food-filled time of year! This will be the  Fourth Annual Pile on the Miles Challenge. This year the challenge is being run by Monica of RunEatRepeat. I love her sassy attitude and blog

If you'd like to join in on the fun, sign up here. The link will take you to a Google Spreadsheet which you'll use to keep track of your miles throughout the month.

The Rules:

1. Sign up on the Google Spreadsheet by October 31st. There will be a place for your name, blog address and twitter handle. You must put in a name, but the other entries are optional.
2. Set a goal at the beginning of the challenge to WALK or RUN x amount of miles. These could be miles on the treadmill OR outside/inside walking OR running. No, biking or elliptical miles do not count.
3.  We will be using calendar weeks Sun-Sat, but the first week is Thur-Sat. It’s clearly marked on the spreadsheet. Please update your miles for the previous week by Monday.
4. Optional: Leave a comment on Monica's blog Nov 1 and 5, 12, 19, 26 with your Mileage Goal for that week. All comments on those posts will be entered into a giveaway.

The Prizes:

The person with the MOST MILES will win a $100 gift certificate from www.Running Shoes.com for any shoes you want!

All other participants who successfully finish the challenge will be entered to win:
1. An outfit and pair of running shoes from Brooks Running
2. An outfit and pair of shoes from PUMA
There will also be weekly giveaways each Monday when you report in with your Monday Mileage Goal for the week.

I'll being using RunKeeper to keep track of my mileage. I chose RunKeeper because it appears to be one of the most popular mileage tracker apps. Its features include GPS tracking, social media integration, fitness reports, and other features that help runners analyze their activities. You can create real-time GPS route maps, audio cues for distance and time, and input categories for non-running activities such as biking, swimming, and weightlifting. While the phone app collects data, RunKeeper's web page provides comprehensive activity history: users can track their monthly mileage, calories burned, average pace, average run length, and the number of calories burned. You can also sync your workout history with friends or teammates, comparing progress and milestones using the website's Street Team feature. The Runkeeper Races feature allows runners to add upcoming races to their accounts and keep track of the results and accomplishments of fellow Runkeeper users.

Sounds good - does anyone else use this app?

Don't forget to sign up for Pile on the Miles by midnight on October 31st!

~ Susan

Sunday, October 28, 2012

SUPER Cookies!

These cookies were on sale at Mom's Organic Market, so I picke.d up a couple of flavors that sounded good. The Ginger Snaps ended up being my favorite. They're very ginger-y delicious. :)

If you have a huge cookie craving, these probably aren't going to help you beat it, but I do find that they satiate any general craving I have for something sweet. Also, these cookies are small and low in calorie, so you get a lot for a serving which helps me feel as though I've gotten a lot to eat.

I really like their ingredient list:

Organic coconut (unsulphured), sprouted organic sesame seeds, organic dates, and organic ginger powder

Short and simple. :)

If you're looking for a tasty sweet snack I recommend trying these!

Right now I'm snacking on a few of these and waiting for Sandy to hit. I live in Northern Virginia, so we've been hearing various things from the news about when the storm will hit and how bad it will be. I think they've settled on tomorrow afternoon and Tuesday being the times when there will be high winds and hard rain. Also, it seems that the power companies are already quite certain that a lot of people will be out of power. When the durecho hit this summer, we were out of power for a couple days. Here's hoping that the effects of this storm are minimal and that people stay safe!

~ Susan

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Green Sandwich

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

What I Ate Wednesday is a blog social event held on Wednesdays by Jenn of the blog Peas and Crayons. It's an opportunity to share a day's food diary and to check out what other bloggers are eating. Thanks for hosting, Jenn! Here's what I ate:


For breakfast I ate two bananas and a packet of Artisana Cacao Bliss. I like to start my day out with fruit because a good, healthy start seems to make it easier to keep making good choices throughout the day. Fruit isn't always filling - that's where the healthy fat comes in!


For lunch I had a green sandwich. I toasted two slices of Trader Joe's Complete Protein Bread.

Then, I sliced up a small avocado and smashed it into both pieces of toast. (More healthy fats for the win!) I added two petite cucumbers (sliced) and a handful of spinach to complete the sandwich. This tastes absolutely delicious, it's very filling, and I feel full of green energy after I eat it. This is my new favorite lunch! I'm kinda over salads - this is a salad sandwich!

I also had a cup of Yogi's Blueberry Slim Life Green Tea. I love it's saying its name - "I'll have a cup of Blueberry Slim Life, please!"


At work I helped myself to two fun-size Almond Joys from the Halloween candy bucket that we have for the kids. I'm going to try making some homemade ones soon.


By the time I got home I was starving, so I heated up a packet of lentils in the microwave and at the whole thing, as is. I meant to eat some baby bell peppers that I have in the fridge, but I guess I'll have to get to those tomorrow.

~ Susan

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday's Meals


Organic Pineapple. I was really in the mood for berries, but I couldn't find any organic ones at the store... maybe because it's not berry season anymore?


Two bananas with Artisana Cocao Bliss. You must try this combination! It is absolutely amazing. Seriously, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabar. Still totally addicted to Larabars. It's a problem. :( Maybe one day they'll be as cheap as granola bars?


Green Sandwich. Avocado, cucumber, and spinach on toasted whole grain bread. Seasoned with salt and pepper.

Rooibos tea & Luna Vanilla Blueberry Fiber bar.

What a delicious day!

~ Susan

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Coconut Vanilla French Toast

Today I whipped up some yummy French toast. Usually I make French toast with two ingredients: bread and eggs. Afterwards, I season it with salt and pepper. So, savory is usually the way I go.

This time I was feeling like having sweet French toast. I added in some vanilla almond milk, stevia, and coconut butter. The almond milk and stevia sweetened it up, while the coconut butter lent it almost a tropical flavor.

  • 1 egg
  • egg whites
  • vanilla almond milk
  • stevia
  • coconut butter 

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Mix the above ingredients together (no measurements - just add as much as suits your taste) and dunk the bread of your choice into the mix. I used Trader Joe's California Style Complete Protein. Cook bread in skillet until golden brown underneath, flip and repeat.


This was one of the first times I've eaten coconut butter. Coconut Butter is made from whole coconut meat which is ground into a creamy butter. It is a solid at room temperature and can be spread like butter. It's different from coconut oil which is an oil and can be used to saute and fry. The nutrition facts for pure (made from 100% pure coconut) coconut butter per two Tablespoons are: 153 fat cals (17g fat), 2g protein, 7g carbs, 5g of which is dietary fiber.

Coconut butter is interesting because the fat it contains is saturated fat, but the saturated fat in coconut is different from that of most other fats and oils. While most dietary fats are composed of long-chain fatty acids, coconut butter is composed of lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid.

Lauric acid can be absorbed directly into the body and even directly into the cells, undigested. Other fats and oils need to be broken down first. Due to it's quick absorption, lauric acid can serve as quick, no-sugar source of energy. Also, coconut butter is absolutely delicious! I enjoyed using it in this recipe so much that I'll be trying it a couple of different ways this week. :)

~ Susan

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spaghetti Squash

I've always been slightly scared of cooking squash. They seem so tough and difficult to deal with... However,
a cup of baked butternut squash has 82 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. It also has 85 mg of calcium and 580 grams of potassium. A cup of baked spaghetti squash has 42 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of protein in addition to 33 mg calcium and 180 mg potassium. A cup of baked acorn squash has 115 calories, 9 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein, plus 90 mg calcium and 900 mg potassium. Squash is very healthy!

So, tonight I set about baking some spaghetti squash. 

Spaghetti squash, after baking

Instead of cutting the squash before cooking it, I baked it whole (pierced a few times with a sharp knife) at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes. Afterwards I let it cook for 10 minutes, then cut it in half and removed the seeds and pulp with a spoon. I used a fork to scrape the squash to get long, spaghetti-like strands.

Remove the seeds and pulp

Then, I heated up a skillet over medium-low heat. I sauteed the "spaghetti" with some butter, garlic salt, pepper, and basil.

A bit crunchier than regular spaghetti. All in all, pretty good and a lot less scary. :)

~ Susan

Friday, October 19, 2012

Baking Mis-Adventures

Today I made Tone It Up's PerfectFit Donuts.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • 1 cup Perfect Fit Protein
  • 3 tsp Coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 1 tsp stevia
  • dash of cinnamon

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes.

Good in theory, but the actual end product...

They weren't quite the texture I had hoped for - they were a bit chalky, which I put down to the protein powder. They also didn't hold together very well:

I suppose I'll stick to baking regular donuts. Does anyone have some tips about cooking with protein powder? I've tried making a couple of other baked goods with protein powder and they've all turned out horribly.

~ Susan

Friday, October 12, 2012

Flaxseed with Breakfast

Today I realized that I had a couple of bags of flaxseed that I haven't touched in a couple of months. So, I decided to eat some with breakfast.


  • 1 serving oats
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • about 1 T. flaxseed
According to WebMd, flaxseed has been a health food for ages! It was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC, and by the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it.

Flaxseed gained its healthy reputation primarily due to three of its components:
  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids - these"good" fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects; each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s
  • Lignans - these possess both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities; flaxseed contains 75-800 times more lignans than other plant foods
  • Fiber - flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types
I usually add flaxseed to oatmeal or smoothies. If you add ground flaxseed to oatmeal before you cook it, it blends in pretty well and you don't notice it. I haven't found a way to make its addition unnoticeable in smoothies.

What your favorite way of adding flaxseed to your diet?

~ Susan

Friday, October 5, 2012

October Dietbet

Back in July I posted that I had joined Sarah Fit’s Dietbet. Everyone who wanted to “play” put in $15 and was challenged to lose 4% of their weight. For me, that was 6.2 pounds.

I didn’t take the bet very seriously for the first few weeks. I was convinced that if I “ate healthy” that the weight would just come off. The thing is, I didn’t really define what eating healthy meant. It was more of a feeling than an action. So, I kept losing then regaining the same the pounds. It was incredibly frustrating. However, in the end I won my bet!

At first I wasn't sure why I kept regaining. The first few weeks I was “being healthy,” but I wasn’t tracking my calories consistently or making sure that I exercised regularly. Finally, with a week left, I got serious. I tracked what I ate by writing everything down and I went to the gym three times. Because I only had a week left, and at that point I needed to lose about 5 pounds, I ate 1,200 calories a day. In the end, I lost 6.5 pounds from my starting weight in 28 days (6 pounds in the last 8 days). Here were my techniques:
  1. I cut out “healthy” treats. Healthy is in quotation marks, because some indulgences I had convinced myself were healthy really weren’t. The first three weeks it seemed like every time I went over 1,200 calories I would gain or at least not lose. I think the problem was my addiction to Frozen Yogurt. I was going to self-serve FroYo places several times a week. I thought I knew how much I was eating because they weigh the yogurt in order to determine the price and I would use the weight to calculate the calories. I honestly think the calorie counts on their website are off (so, on days when I thought I was eating 1,500 calories, instead I may have been eating many more). So, I cut that out completely. Instead I ate truly healthy treats – fruit, nature’s dessert. :)
  2. I increased my water intake. Part of this was replacing liquid calories with water. I had gotten into the habit of drinking smoothies and lattes almost daily. While fruit and yogurt smoothies and soy lattes are certainly not “bad” for you, they are not the best choice for someone who is trying to lose weight. My go-to smoothies contained 500 calories per serving, and my soy lattes contained 220 calories. By drinking water instead of these, I was able to cut out/re-distribute these calories. I also just drank more water in general. Throughout my day at work I would sip on water. On the weekends with friends, I had a glass of water with me at all times. This helped make me less hungry, and, I think, have fewer cravings.
  3. I worked out three times a week. I’ve always thought of myself as a person who exercises… but ever since I graduated from college and going to the gym is less convenient, I’ve become someone who used to exercise. Throughout the entire Diet Bet, I made it a priority to workout multiple times a week. First, I was burning more calories. But, more importantly I felt healthier when I went to the gym, which made me want to continue to make healthy choices. It’s a positive feedback loop. Also, going to the gym meant I had less time to spend eating… which was important, because I tend to snack when I’m lounging about. Most of the time I spent 45 minutes on the elliptical, but I also jogged some, took long walks at a quick pace, and did workout videos.
Diet Bet definitely helped me reach my goals. In the past when my weight bounced around but ultimately remained the same, I kind of just gave up. Because there was a solid end date for the bet, I really pushed myself to make sure I hit my target. I like how the goals they set were very reasonable. Everyone was challenged to lose 4% of his or her body weight in 28 days. That means that someone who weighed less had to lose less than someone who weighed more, which makes sense because the less you have to lose, the harder it is to do so. I also like how I was reminded of my goal each day in an email.

Sarah Fit will be hosting another Dietbet which will start on October 10th. I'll be playing in this game, if you’d like to do this with me! The buy-in for this game is $25.

~ Susan