A Slice of Heaven: Blueberry Pie!

One of the best things about summer is picking your own blueberriesSeriously. If you’ve never done it, find a place nearby and go right now. White Oak Farm, located in Renick, WV, sells pick your own berries for $1.95 a pound. I may or may not have picked eight pounds and froze five of them. Can’t wait to have fresh berries in the wintertime! Berry picking is a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy, affordable for those on a budget (or those who simply want to save money), and gives you tasty blueberries to savor all year round.

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What is the obvious thing to do with blueberries? Make a pie of course! Now before you assume I’m Betty Crocker, I confess I bought a store-bought crust. You know what? It did the job and that worked for me. I may not be Betty Crocker, but her recipe was delicious. Easy enough for the two of us to figure out!

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We bake with the best company.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the first blueberry pie Matt and I have ever baked! It won’t be the last either. Blueberries are high in antioxidants, so obviously that means it’s healthy right 😉 If you have any recipes for us to try, please let me know!

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A Spring Salad

Gone are the heavy days of winter where I want to snuggle up in a blanket and eat warm soup and butter bread. Don’t get me wrong; I’m still a carb lover at heart, but my diet tends to change when winter ends. With the days getting longer and the sun shining 75% of the time, I don’t want to spend an endless amount of time in the kitchen slaving over a stove. I prefer fast, yet satisfying meals. My friend, this spring salad has it all. Protein, fiber, dairy (a cheese substitute can be used instead if you can’t have dairy, even though I’m lactose intolerant and have no issues with feta), antioxidants, vitamins, and so much more. Trust me. You want this 10 minute salad.

  • Romaine Lettuce: Only contains 17 calories per serving and has high water content, which is perfect to help control your weight.
  • Carrots: High in beta-carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and good for your cardiovascular health
  • Strawberries: High in fiber and potassium, not to mention they are delicious
  • Walnuts: An essential fatty acid that contains manganese and Vitamin B
  • Craisins: Honestly, just provides enough sweetness to appease my occasional craving of junk food
  • Hemp Seeds: Contains 10 grams of protein per 3 TBSP; contains iron and other essential minerals needed in your body; I buy mine here.
  • Feta Cheese: A Greek cheese made primarily from goat or sheep’s milk; has a salty, tangy flavor; lower in calories than traditional cheese from cow’s milk; nutritional in moderation due to the salt content; tastes delicious and a staple in this Greek woman’s household
  • Olive oil and red wine vinegar: Used as the dressing, but feel free to use any vinaigrette of your choice

Now, I am by no means a nutritionist, so I encourage everyone to do their own research when it comes to their diet. Know your needs and approximate calorie intake each day and stick to a plan. I wouldn’t eat this salad five nights a week, but for my size and weight, once or twice is ideal. My husband even loves it and he despises vegetables.

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Go ahead and savor this spring salad. 

I had two pups watching me as I made the salad and couldn’t help but snap their pictures. They’re my forever sidekicks!

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Leia, the watcher of all food making activities

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Miner, the one who expects food because he knows he’s cute.

If you try this salad, let me know what you think!

Love Grown

I am not a big cereal eater, but my husband certainly is. Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms, Honey Nut Cheerios…he loves (almost) all of them. Did you know that so many of the cereals found in the supermarket contain ingredients that are toxins to our body? A common one is sugar. Look at any ingredient list or nutrition facts and you will be astounded at how many grams are in each serving. Way too many. Another common additive is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), an ingredient that contains mercury and is known to lead to obesity and diabetes. BHA/BHT (preservatives), artificial coloring, and hydrogenated oils are three other common additives in cereal, but one would not know it without thoroughly examining an ingredient list. It’s common for the words “WHOLE GRAIN” to lead a consumer to think the product must be healthy when in reality, the cereal can be just as toxic as those not labeled whole grain.

I don’t mind my husband’s love of cereal, but I have never been okay with him eating food for breakfast that only spikes his blood sugar and makes him hungry again in two hours. While at Kroger last week, I found a cereal called Chocolate Power O’s and figured it couldn’t hurt to try it. Guess what? Matt loves it! It has the sweet chocolate taste he craves in a cereal, but what it doesn’t have is even better. No preservatives, no gluten, no chemicals, non GMO, and fills him up longer than your average cereal. Would you believe beans can taste so good?

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Even though I don’t eat much cereal, I catch myself eating a bowl for breakfast too!

Navy, lentil, and garbanzo beans -all beans high in protein- are the superfoods behind this delicious cereal. It only has 9 grams of sugar per serving, which is much better than the 15+ in an average children’s cereal. Below is the ingredient list:

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All things that a consumer can pronounce combined with the great taste of chocolate makes this product a win-win. Try it and let me know what you think!

Chocolate Caramel Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Smoothies. They are the perfect quick breakfast, easy lunch, or lazy dinner. I firmly believe there is never a wrong time (or wrong way!) to make a smoothie, but it helps when you have a mix to add to whatever ingredients you were going to use. Now, I am a longtime lover of the Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal in chocolate and my husband swears by it for energy and daily nutrition. Add in some extra chia and flax seeds, some peanut butter, a banana, and ice, and you have a crazy healthy meal in minutes. Lately however, I have been on the hunt for a different flavor to mix into my routine and came across one that may tie with the Garden of Life for a new favorite. Meet Plant Fusion Phood, a plant based whole food meal replacement shake. I haven’t tried it on its own yet with just water or almond milk, but in a smoothie, the stuff is freaking fantastic.

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I start off by adding about a cup of the almond milk (gauge it based on how much liquid you want), followed by the frozen banana, a spoonful of peanut butter, one scoop of the powder, and 3-4 ice cubes. Those amounts will make one large smoothie or two smaller ones. A great thing about smoothies is that they can be modified to your liking. Next time, I may add some kale or spinach for some green nutrients or a tablespoon of hemp seeds for added omegas. It is a filling “meal” that tastes like a dessert! I bought mine here, but I know our local Healthsmart sells it too.

Are there any smoothie recipes you’d like to share? I’m always up for making new ones! Enjoy!!

 

*Vitacost referral link for $10 off your first order (not affiliate): http://goo.gl/ykAyVW

Fall Time is Pie Time

When Matt and I went apple picking last week, we brought home over 5 pounds of apples. What’s a couple to do with so many apples? Bake a pie of course! Neither of us have ever baked a pie, so I turned to good old Pillsbury for advice; see link below for recipe. The only change we made was using raw cane sugar by instead of white sugar. Raw cane sugar (we use this one by Florida Crystals), although still having the same properties as regular sugar, is not bleached and over processed to make it white. As a bonus, Florida Crystals is sustainably sourced and made in the USA, so you can feel better knowing your purchase is not supporting unethical practices.

Now onto the good stuff! We set aside our entire afternoon to make this pie since 1) we have never done it before and 2) the recipe says to give it about three hours or so. We had a lot of fun making this pie and it came out DELICIOUS. With such cute company too, it was impossible to not enjoy our time together. Matt worked over 50 hours at the hospital last week, so it was a much needed afternoon of being together doing something different. Plus, we now have enough pie to have a piece for breakfast every day this week. Yum!

https://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/perfect-apple-pie/1fc2b60f-0a4f-441e-ad93-8bbd00fe5334

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WV State Fair 2016

If there’s one thing about me you should know, it’s that I love carbs. French fries, mozzarella sticks, bread, popcorn, nachos: You name a carb and there’s an 80% chance I’ll enjoy it. When the WV State Fair comes every August, it’s only appropriate that I inhale carbs that will go my hips and I know I’ll complain about a month later. Well, I spent 3 days at the fair working the Division of Rehabilitation Services booth for work and 1 evening with Matt and friends, so I had four days to indulge myself. I am usually a pretty healthy eater, but I ate nachos all 4 days I was there (GASP!). I also may or may not have had a root beer float, popcorn, a chicken gyro, a WV famous cinnamon roll (in my defense, Matt and I did share it), and the also famous Ben-Ellen cinnamon sugar donut. I won’t lie when I say every single calorie was worth it 🙂  The fair only comes once a year, so might as well take advantage of it, right?

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The fair is a huge attraction to West Virginians and individuals of the surrounding states. There are rides, games, lottery stands, horse shows, a calf birthing exhibit, rabbits on display, and more. It truly is an experience for those who have never been to a fair. It’s not huge by any means, but it’s a ton of fun. I can’t get over how expensive everything was though. It is so easy to spend $50-$100 on food and games that before you know it, your wallet is empty. $1.25 a ticket for a ride?! That’s insane. Matt and I went on the Wild Mouse, and I must say that I don’t know when I became such a chicken. I LOVE roller coasters, I really do, but there’s something about the jerking and sudden stops on the Wild Mouse that made me yell in Matt’s ear the whole time with “AHH!” “I HATE YOU” and “It’s official. My life will end on this thing.” I can’t handle spinning rides without getting sick, so I’m pretty much a bore in the rides department. All in all, the night Matt and I were there with friends was to celebrate my dear friend Amy’s birthday, and I hope she had a great time.

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“I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel.” -E.B.White

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Love this small town we live in.

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Our annual fair photo