Current Favorite Snacks

My eating habits have had such a roller coaster ride over the last few years.

I’m pretty over labels and rules and restrictions and anything else that tells me I can’t have this or need to eat that.  However, I’m still into health and feeling my best. I’ve cut out certain foods off and on for years. Seriously, I’d say almost 15 years.  I was searching for that magic bullet, the mystical diet that would change my digestion, my body, and my life.

I’m here to say that diet does not exist. Maybe paleo works for you right now but it may not in a year. Maybe I feel better eating less sugar this month but by September I might feel just as good having dessert every single night.  Things change, so do I.

I know now that I can have whatever I want (except bananas. I really believe I have an allergy…), in moderation. “Moderation” can be an annoying term but it really means something different to everyone. I just had to figure out my own moderation.

Anyway, I’m talking about my current favorite snacks that make me happy and satisfied. Maybe you’ll find something new!

Epic Bars

I’m a little tired of most snacks, especially bars, being sweet. I’ve always been more of a savory/salty person so these are perfect!  It’s more portable than jerky and has great, clean ingredients.  Fave flavor is the Bison Bacon Cranberry but I’ve tried a bunch and they’re all good.

Siggi’s Simple Sides

So far I liked the Almonds and Dried Cherries flavor the best. I’ve eated these for breakfast along with a muffin or just alone for a snack. I love the crunch that the toppings add because I’ve never been one for the normal texture of plain yogurt. I love that there’s like 16 grams of protein in each one because I notice I feel fuller longer when I have enough.

Happy Yummies Gummy Bears

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I am not super into candies. Normally I’d rather pick chocolate but since I’ve been experimenting with running fuel (which gummies are great for!), I randomly picked these up at Marshalls on clearance the other week.  They really are some of the best gummies!  The bag I bought has 12 flavors, like Pink Grapefruit and  lemon, and they’re the softest, non-sticky gummies I’ve ever had. It’s nice to grab just like five or six of them after lunch for something sweet.

Black Bean Brownie Bites

And my final snack I’ve been having lately is black bean brownie bites! Really, this is such a good version of them. You would never know the beans are in them, but it gives them such a great, dense texture and really compliments the chocolate well. I love the bite size and the chunks of chocolate chips in them. I’ve been having one after dinner and it’s the cutest little dessert to end the night! This recipe made about 20 so I froze them to keep whenever I want a treat.

‘Till next time!

💕Whitney

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Mocha Protein Muffins – Gluten Free & Vegan

Sometimes I want to eat cake for breakfast…but when I actually do that I end up on a downward spiral for the rest of the day, craving more sugar, more carbs, more unhealthy anything.  These muffins can be a great option for those days when I really want the cake without the crap.  IMG_7395

This is the nice middle ground between a muffin and a brownie.  I tweaked a recipe from Tone It Up. These aren’t dry like some gluten free recipes and they have a rich chocolate flavor because of the coffee.  Coffee brings out I learned that from Ina.

So easy. Tasty as a snack or dessert.

Mocha Protein Muffins

makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 oat flour

3/4 cup vegan chocolate protein powder (using this kind at the moment)

1/4 cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

1/4 cup raw honey

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup coffee

1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax dissolved in 2 tbsp water)

Instructions:

Mix dry ingredients together. Add all wet ingredients. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.  (I prefer coconut oil spray) Pour batter evenly Bake 24-28 minutes until just firm.

Let me know what you think!

~Whitney Victoria

 

Food In Review

First off, let me just say I’m pretty happy the Eagles finally did it again. I heard fireworks and people hooting and hollering in the neighborhood! But….. that doesn’t mean I watched any of it. I was refreshing the score a tad obsessively near the end though…Wait, I lie!  I watched this Chris Pratt commercial…twice, and I’m not apologizing.  He makes me happy.  Just following my bliss…hah.

It’s not news that I’m obsessed with grocery shopping.  The food, the endless new products, the coffee bars, , the mini carts with cupholders to carry the coffee I just bought…The only thing I don’t love is the freezing temperature that somehow is not just in the frozen aisles.  Another recent trip to Whole Foods was as delightful to be expected.

Also unsurprisingly, I love trying new healthy products and want to share whatever I learn.  As much fun as it is to do some testing, it’s not great fun to spend my hard-earned money on something I don’t like and end up ditching.  Thus, I’m a nerd who reads food reviews.  Here are some of my own!  Most of my new purchases are snacks.  You know snacks are the best.

Ripple Half and Half

I’m usually into black coffee but lately I’ve been wanting just little bit of milk to smooth it out.  If I ever add something to my coffee, I prefer real half and half for the richness it adds without the sweetness.  There are a lot non-dairy creamers out there and I am underwhelmed by most of them.  I recently discovered Califia Farms line and enjoy it but I’m not settled enough to stop trying new ones.  I’ve seen Ripple milk for awhile but never saw the half and half until this weekend.  Pleased to say it’s great for a creamy touch with only 1 gram of sugar per tablespoon and clean, pea protein.

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Verdict: Great as a non-dairy sub for half and half. Not so great if you’re into sugary creamers.

Whole Foods Americano 

IMG_7474Wow, I can’t believe I waited this long to get an Americano from the WF coffee bar.  It was delicious just straight up, no cream. I’m still finishing it up cold because I’m weird and drink coffee any way I can get it.

Verdict: Bold.  Yes, please.  Trading it in for the Costa Rican blend I usually go for.

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I love salt.  I used to be a cracker addict.  I could finish half a box of Cheez-Its in one sitting.  The problem with that is it’s all chemicals, gluten, and artificial dyes. These rice snaps are not low sodium but they are gluten-free, crispy, and richly flavorful.  The first word that comes to mind when I try to describe the taste is umami. According to Urban Dictionary, it’s definition is the pretentious way of saying the 5th human taste (salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and savory, aka “umami”) Sorry, I watch a lot of Top Chef…

Verdict: Satisfying as lunch topped with tuna and good with hummus or avocado as a snack.

Hail Merry Sea Salt Caramel Bites

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I am doing a gluten detox for at least three months to get it out of my system and I really wanted something cake-like yesterday.  It’s not that easy to find, even at a Whole Foods.  No, this wasn’t the heavenly WF carrot cake that I was craving but these little, refrigerated cookies were good.  Butttt, these were an impulse buy, fueled by hunger so I didn’t realize they were coconut macaroons.  I was hoping for more of a crumbly/pastry-type cookie.

Verdict: I’d buy them again if I’m looking for a coconut taste and texture.  The sweet caramel flavor was nice and I only needed one to feel like I had dessert.

P.S. This Cookie Dough Is Good Ror You

It’s edible, protein-packed, chickpea-based cookie dough.  Um, duh.  And, it’s in a nice little container for 190 calories.  This is nice because I’ll admit I’ve bought those terrible, break-off pre-made cookie dough packs and popped them like candy…like you haven’t.  I’m glad this is one serving.  No need to have an endless supply of dough in my fridge.

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE DOUGH

Verdict: Peanut Butter Cookie Dough flavor was pretty amazing. If I didn’t know it was chickpeas, I don’t think I would have guessed it was conventional cookie dough.

Anyone buy any random new foods lately?  Obviously, I’m always open to suggestions!

~Whitney Victoria Eating well is a form of self respect - AZENDA.com

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Festivities – Food and Facials

Festiveness is everywhere!  In my food and self-care practices…

Festivity Part One: I had a facial today here.  It was heaven.   I chose the spa because they focus on natural ingredients.  I didn’t want harsh products on my poor face.  After my first facial I felt super red and slightly in pain and I’ve never had super bad skin so I can imagine what it’s like for other people.  This time was going to be different.  I had already decided that before booking an appointment.

Other than my skin looking a little lackluster lately, I didn’t have any major concerns to addresss.  I mainly wanted some advice on my type of skin and some sort of cleansing relaxation.  The “seasonal facial” was right up my alley.

This was the description: “A botanical experience perfect for all skin types featuring vitamin-rich holistic products that enhance your skin’s natural balance and vitality.  While your skin absorbs the healing properties of our masques, we’ll delight you with a decollete, full hand & arm exfoliation and body butter application followed by a warm tower hand wrap.”

The esthetician used hot buttered rum exfoliant, peppermint oil in my scalp massage, and some amazing cocoa face mask…yes.  It was like I was getting a facial in Christmas land.  So many hot towels draped over my eyes and my hands wrapped up.  It was so relaxing and my face was a tad red (as to be expected) but it also looked dewy and renewed.

She did tell me that I had small blocks all over and it wasn’t super noticeable to me because I have small pores.  She said that it was most likely caused by something topical.  I literally never wear foundation so I knew it must be my face cream.  Another fact I loved about the process was that I was given a “prescription sheet” of all the products she used on me in case I loved it and wanted to use something at home.  It was completely this brand, Eminence Organic Skincare, which I have never heard of before now.  It’s so tough for me to find something natural that also doesn’t cause any negative reactions or clogged pores.  The “calm” line was recommended since I’m pretty sensitive…of course I am.I’m not one to be talked into a ton of products but I want my skin to be something I’m proud of.  Instead of just choosing say the cleanser, or just the cream, I am trying this starter set so see how I like it.

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Seriously.  I loved every minute of it.  I’m currently working them into my schedule because this needs to happen every six weeks or so.

Festivity Part Two:

Oh man.  I had the best idea yesterday morning.  I had some time to actually use the stove for breakfast.  Normally I prep oatmeal the night before or  so I wanted good pancakes.  You know, with the little crispy edges that show up when you bake something in a pan?  I use coconut oil usually but there’s nothing wrong with real butter!  My stomach does not do well with egg yolks and I’m always on the lookout for something gluten free. My search led me to this easy recipe.  It’s actually a waffle recipe but they’re always the same and I was not dusting my waffle iron off for a batch of 2.

It was so simple yet I was almost out of my regular almond milk and didn’t think I could squeeze a 1/2 cup out of it.  I thought, “Hey!  Who says I can’t substitute that for my beloved Good Karma Holiday Nog?”

Let me tell you.  It’s one of the best “nogs” on the market right now.  I’ve tried most dairy-free kinds so that’s saying something.  It’s great straight up.  I can’t wait to down a glass with a little plateful of gluten-free almond cookies this season.  So…it had to be a great addition to my pancakes, right?

SOOO much better than I expected!  My pancakes tastes like sugar cookies!  I added just a hint of coconut oil at the end and drizzled some maple syrup but next time I wouldn’t even need that! The nog added its own sweetness.

Please try this recipe out!  I got my nog at Wegmans but this time of year it’s usually at Giant and Target too! You can use any kind of dairy-free nog (or any kind of milk, I think) but I think you’ll love the festive feel to this breakfast.

Holiday Nog Pancakes

(Makes 2 large pancakes)

1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I love Bob’s Red Mill gf blend.)

1/2 cup Good Karma Holiday Nog

2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

Mix all ingredients together. Cook on medium heat in pan with melted coconut oil.  Flip once, when you see bubbles on the surface. It will take awhile!  Practice patience.

fullsizeoutput_20c4I’ll be making these all winter long.  Or at least as long as I can find great dairy-free, healthy drinks.

My favorite way to drink “egg” nog of the season.  Christmas Vacation will forever hold a place in my happy holiday heart.

~Whitney Victoria

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Walnut Apple Oat Muffins (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

Funny story.  I’m making a pecan pie for Thanksgiving and had all my ingredients last week.  I was super proud of myself for having everything ready to go so early.  I was in the kitchen and glanced at the counter where I had that bags and noticed my pecans said “walnuts” on the bag!  Hah, I thought it was a little hilarious that I got everything but the pecans for a pecan pie.  I’m actually excited for this pie.  It’s a Whitney creation…Suffice it say, I had a large bag of chopped walnuts burning a hole in my pocket.

Enter these muffins.  I wanted to make something breakfast-worthy.  That means filling, with some fiber and protein, and not loaded with sugar.  I found this recipe then added my own spin, like I do.

These muffins are moist, hearty, and just sweet enough to still taste like a treat!  The nutty topping adds an extra crunch.

There were pretty many ingredients but they most things you probably have on hand.
img_8131.jpgPre-baked muffins.IMG_9597Post-baked muffins!img_2983.jpgI had some overflow onto another pan since the apples bulked it up.  I think next time I’ll split the batter for exactly 12 muffins.  I like high muffins that rise up over the paper edges.  It makes them look more like bakery-style ones!  img_6845.jpg

Another option could be pear and almond!  That might be good actually.

Walnut Apple Oat Muffins

(Approx. 12-16 muffins)

Ingredients:

     Muffins:

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax with 2 tbsp water)
  • 1-1/2 cups gluten-free old fashioned oats
  • 1-1/4 cups gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 apples, chopped

     Topping:

  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted (use salted butter if you’re not following a vegan diet)

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Fill muffin tins with liners
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the applesauce, milk, melted coconut oil and flax egg until blended.
  4. Stir in the dry ingredients (oats, flour, walnuts, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt).
  5. Mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  6. Fold in chopped apple.
  7. Fill muffin cups until they’re full.
  8. In a small bowl, stir together the topping ingredients.
  9. Gently press topping over the batter in each cup.
  10. Bake for 16 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  11. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow!  Let’s be real and think of some things to appreciate.

~Whitney Victoria