Flavor Your Adventure

Hey Friends!

I’ve got a confession to make……

I love my job, but it barely leaves me time to eat anything. Confession; I love food more then my job lol.

But seriously, food it life and I don’t mean the staying alive kind. My job hardly lets me sit down for 12 hours let alone eat something. I’ve seriously gone into work thinking I could just fix my messy bun later that day and 12 hours later I step out of the camp vortex and wonder where my day went.

Thankfully my peeps at Blue Diamond have come to my rescue.

blue diamond almonds

I’m a nut person. I love them in everything and all the things. Cookies? check. Muffins? double check. Anything can be made better if you put nuts in it in my opinion. Even better? Straight up eating nuts. Almonds being my favorite, duh. Although cashews and pecans come in a close second. (note; it’s said P-can, just saying)

Every Thursday is field trip day at work, and every Thursday I think, “Yes! Today is the day I can sit down and eat a normal lunch!” And every Thursday I’m wrong…..

This past week we went to the Beach. We went to the beach with over 100 campers between the ages of 6-15. That is a a potential nightmare scenario and I knew I would need all the energy I could muster up. In comes Blue Diamond Almonds.

blue diamond almonds

I’ve said before how vanilla I like my food, so the salted/roasted and lightly salted almonds are my jam. They also have bold flavors like Sriracha and other crazy flavors I buy solely for JB to eat, because my tastebuds are actually those of a 2-year-old. No worries here.

If I’m being completely honest, the roasted/salted ones are already empty in these photos. Sorry but Homegirl’s gotta eat, photos be darned. I should also mention that I only sat down to snap a photo then it was right back up to go dig holes in the sand with the kids. Final note, I didn’t get sunburned at all. It’s the little things. 😉

blue diamond almonds

I also got a lot of strange looks from passer-bys as I snapped photos of cans of nuts in the sand. The kids however thought it was awesome and it was like having my own personal photo crew. (Don’t worry though Parents, I’m well aware of allergies in my groups and none with a nut allergy were anywhere near them.) << I felt that was nessecary to include…..

So I made it through the day of digging holes, building sand castles, applying sunscreen, picking up sandy sandwhichs, carrying kids across the hot sand, endless trips to and from the bathroom, and picking up the trail of forgotten items on the way back to the buses. It was a  great day. I lvoe my job 🙂

So thank you Blue Diamond for making the perfect on-the-go snack to keep me going!

What about you? what’s you go-to snack to make it through the work day?

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This “Flavor Your Adventure” post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more snack ideas to “Flavor Your Adventure” this summer, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook (http://facebook.com/bluediamond), Twitter (http://twitter.com/bluediamond) and Instagram (http://instagram.com/bluediamond).

Father’s Day Pancakes

Whoa it’s Father’s Day weekend!

How is it almost through June? Yesterday was New Year’s Eve was it not??

Anyway, my Padre is across the Seas living in Germany and while my sister got to go visit for a few weeks, Adulthood beckoned and I had to hang back and work and pay them bills. Sad face. So while they’re both playing, I wanted to share a little bit about my Dad. (you can read more here and here as well)

One of our many trips together

One of our many trips together. Perfectly explains our relationship

My Dad is Awesome with a capitol A. I just wanted to get that out there before we started. Now I know you probably think you’re Dad is cool and all, and he probably is, but there’s just nothing like a Daddy-Daughter relationship. Growing up my Dad walked on water and was as tall as the trees. He was as strong as a Giant and as funny as a video of someone falling down (you know those make you laugh too).

It may also help that I’m as gullible as a three year old at Christmas time, but I thought my Dad hung the Moon. (still do) Out of all my brother’s (that’d be three of them) my Dad and I had the most in common so we were special pals. We’d go camping together, fishing, hiking, played sports together, worked on my game, and just all around had fun.

Ignore the blurriness, it's one of my favorites from an  old flip phone #sorrynotsorry

Ignore the blurriness, it’s one of my favorites from an old flip phone #sorrynotsorry

One special thing you should know about my Dad is that his culinary skills are at their finest in the woods. He magically transforms into a gourmet chef once we cross into our campsite. Most kids simply roast a hotdog over the fire, or bring sandwiches from home. Not my Dad. Nope. We eat stew, we eat berry cobbler and apple crisp. We eat fancy noodle dishes and complete “home”-cooked meals. Granted we started with the hot dogs and sandwiches, but over the many many years he’s become an expert at eating like a King in the wilderness.

One thing that always remained a tradition though, was breakfast pancakes in the morning. He’d even start making them for us at home sometimes too. If there was ever an award for best pancake flipper, it’d go to that guy.

What better way to say thanks than to make my Dad some special Father’s Day pancakes then? Of course I’d haveta ship them across the World and I highly doubt they’d be all that delectable once he received them, so you’ll just have to help me out and make them for your Dad instead.

Father's Day Protein Pancake

It’s such a creative and adorable idea I don’t know how I have never though of it before!! You can find the recipe here! Can I admit that I tried to make these anyway? They’re just too cute not to!

premier protein

Premier Protein also sent me a chocolate protein shake and some wicked delicious protein bars as well. Let me tell you. These bars? Manna in my mouth. I ate the cookie and cream and chocolate peanut butter ones before i had a chance to take any photos. Read why here. They are the perfect snack bar on the go or after an intense workout to help you recover.

So now I want you to tell me your Father’s Day plans. It better involve at least calling that Dad of yours and telling him you love him!

Oh yea, Love you Dad!

This is a sponsored post. Al products were received for free in exchange for my honest review, however all opinions are my own. 

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Bacon & Cucumber Macaroni Salad

Hey Party People!

I’ll have a Graduation Weekend recap for y’all in a hot minute. Well maybe, who knows. My sister is spending a few days with me before we turn around and head to her graduation in Knoxville so I may or may not get around to it. I’m sure you’re crying on the inside. It’s ok, we’ll get through this together….

Anyway, today I’ve got a fun summer pasta salad recipe for you. I made this for the graduation cook-out I went to this past Saturday. It was a hit! I even actually liked it and I don’t normally like pasta salads. Whatever dressing is used usually doesn’t sit well with my taste-buds.

This one did though. Like a lot, a lot.

Bacon & Cucumber Macaroni Salad

Let me back up though. I scoured the Internets (aka Pinterest) for a good recipe, but to no avail. Nothing just popped out at me. Alas, I was assigned a pasta salad and you won’t ever find me showin up empty-handed anywhere, so not to be deterred, I kinda just combined a bunch of stuff and called it a day.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out too. I always say I can’t make recipes up (not that this was all that original) but somehow they keep turning out. Now if only I could get those darn photos to look uber staged and 5-star worthy….

Bacon & Cucumber Macaroni Salad

I also have to admit I’m not a huge fan of bacon. GASP. I know…..Blasphemous and Un-American….While you’re picking your jaw up off the ground, let me explain myself. If someone offers me bacon, 9/10 I’ll say no thanks. Unless it’s a life or death situation in which case 10/10 I’ll take the bacon. See? Not as bad as you thought.

I understand though that everyone else and their Momma goes Gaga over bacon, so I indulge them. I make bacon…….

Bacon & Cucumber Macaroni Salad

Bacon & Cucumber Macaroni Salad

  • 2 cups pasta (cooked, drained, rinsed, and cooled)
  • 12 strips bacon (cooked, cooled, and cut)
  • 1 package frozen peas (steamed and cooled)
  • 1 small or 1/2 large cucumber (chopped)
  • 3 stalks green onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp spicy mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all solid ingredients in a bowl. Obviously you’re gonna wanna cook and cool the bacon, cook the pasta, chop the onion/cucumber etc, but I figured we’re all big girls here and could infer that part.

Next mix all wet ingredients in a smaller bowl, combining them well. Finally pour the dressing over the mixed solids and stir all together. I actually only used about 3/4 of the dressing to a lighter taste. Go with your gut on this. (Gut = taste buds, just don’t eat it all)

Done, bueno.

Seriously, you should add this to your summer bucket list, it’s that good.

Anyone else have  great pasta salad recipe I can try?

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Blue Diamond Almond Coconut Smoothies

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. I received this product for free, however all opinions and statements are my own.

Oh look who decided to show up this Monday! If you said me, than you are 100% correct. If you didn’t say me it’s ok, I can’t really blame you with my track record….

I do have something uber fun for you today though! Through being a part of the Blue Diamond Almonds Tastemakers Community, I was sent a box of their Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almond coconut Milk to test out.

Now first of all, I use their regular almond milk every morning in my chai tea and it even made an appearance in the Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies I made over the Holidays, so almond milk is no stranger to my fridge. I had never before tried the Coconut variations though. I’m the first to admit I’m not a huge fan of coconut. This stuff was the bomb though.

(title)

I branched out from my usual chai tea mixture and made a wonderfully delicious smoothie with it!

Now before you get all excited, for those who are vehemently against anything coconut flavored, I want to assure you that the coconut taste is very mild. I didn’t even notice it in the smoothie, although I do in my tea.

Almond Breeze Coconut Almond Smoothie

With the weather warming, or rather trying to warm up, I drink a heck of a lot more smoothies. However I get bored with the same old orange and banana concoction that’s my normal go-to, so this was perfect.

I also made mine a bit thicker by adding in less liquid and more solids but feel free to play around with the ingredient amounts to best suite you.

Almond Breeze Almond Coconut Milk

I wouldn’t say it makes a great “meal” but I’m the type of girl who eats a few meals between my “meals” if ya know what i mean. As in around 10:30 and 3 I need something to tide me over until the real meal and I stick this smoothie in there. Make sense?

But on, let’s get to the actual recipe, I know why you came around today.

Almond Breeze Almond Coconut Smoothie

  • 1 cup Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Coconut Milk
  • 1/2  avocado
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt (any flavor you want!)
  • dash vanilla

Blend together and finish off with one smooth criminal!

 Any questions?

Are you a fan of Almond Milk? Ever tried the coconut blend?

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Linkin up with the Meatless Monday Crew

Green Monster Breakfast Smoothie

Happy Monday Party People!

You’d be the only party people in the room right now because I spent my entire weekend in the library studying for my graduate exams this week, whomp whomp. But with two snow days beforehand, you best believe I completed two more hats, an ear warmer, and a scarf so I got my “partying” out of the way before the weekend lol

Anyway, today’s recipe comes to you in honor of my Boston bound Spring Break next week!!! You know I just couldn’t stay away so it’s 7 days in the city that’s still buried under snow. I really planned my “Spring’ break really well this year lol

Green Monster Smoothie4

Anyway, with all this cold weather that just won’t stop, I’ve been terrible at getting my greens in. Carbs? No problem. Homemade warm and delicious sugary treats? duh, I made donuts remember….

So yea, I needed an easy and doable way to get my greens in until Mother Nature decides to bring real life back to us. Now there’s no shortage of green smoothie recipes out there, just go on Pinterest and you could scroll through that page for the next 1,000 years and still find more.

So what makes mine different?

Green Monster Smoothie3

Cauliflower!

Actually I have no idea if that’s never been done before, ain’t no one got time to fact check 1,000 years worth of recipes! So I apologize if you’re the creator of spinach-cauliflower cubes.

[Tweet “I don’t always invent recipes, but when I do they involve chocolate #smoothie”]

I kid you not though, there’s a full serving of cauliflower in these puppies. On food prep day I blend one cup water with a batch of fresh spinach (not the bagged kind) with half a head of grated cauliflower. Once it’s blended into its green earthy glory, I pour it all into ice cube trays and freeze them overnight. Then you can either leave them in the trays or pop them out into a bowl like I do.

Green Monster Smoothie2

I also chop and freeze separately my bananas for extra bulky blended goodness the next morning. Finally I add in one cup water, a full navel orange, a dash of vanilla and peppermint extract, and blend well. Last I toss in a few (my few and your few are allowed to be different) and pulse 3-5 times until there’s tiny chunks on chocolate throughout.

I actually blend everything together the day of that I’ll be drinking it. Plus since the banana and spinach-cauliflower cubes are frozen there’s really no need for ice cubes to give it that frosty texture! Easy peasy no-lemon’s involved squeezy!

Green Monster Smoothie1

Green Monster Breakfast Smoothie

  • 3-4 spinach-cauliflower cubes
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 cup water
  • dash vanilla
  • 1-2 drops peppermint extract
  • flax or chia seeds (optional)
  • handful chocolate chips (NOT optional, kidding)

Blend well and enjoy! It’s really that simple.

Have you ever tried making your spinach cubes beforehand? What’s your favorite smoothie recipe to get in those greens?

Sig

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Linkin up with Meatless Monday

Hemp Hearts Review + Giveaway

Why look-ey here, I’m posting on a Thursday!

You can be sure I’m still tucked away in bed reading a book on this snow day in Kentucky. That makes snow day #6 in case you were wondering. Well #6 if you’re only counting weekdays, it’d be snow day #10 if we include weekends. Point Mother Nature.

Anyway, I was given the opportunity to receive and review Hemp Hearts from Manitoba Harvest through my association with FitApproach (thanks ladies!). When I told my Mom I got some hemp hearts to try, her first reaction was understandably to be worried for my soul since “hemp” is used in the growing of cannabis (if you didn’t know that already just ignore it) I can promise you though that this Hemp, is not That hemp. Well it is a product of that hemp but it’s not involved with cannabis at all and oh my goodness I’m quickly going down a rabbit hole here let’s get back on topic…..

hemp hearts

Hemp hearts, also known as hemp seeds are a great natural source of protein, essential fats, and vitamins while being low in carbs, sugar, and saturated fat. Per serving they have 10grams of plant-based protein and 10grams of Omegas. #fueledbyhemp amiright?

hemp hearts

Science aside, how do they taste? Absolutely delicious is how! Seriously, I went out and bought yogurt just so i could eat more hemp hearts. I don’t even really Eat yogurt!!

Seriously though, they’re kinda nutty and I don’t know, just plain good. Plus they add texture to yogurt which for me is a plus. I’ve also added them to granola I’ve made, or maybe even smoothies?? Not sure on that one.

hemp hearts

So why hemp hearts. Sure they’re good for you and taste delicious, but what else? Benefits have been seen in those with:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol levels
  • Celiac disease
  • Diabetics
  • pregnant or lactating mothers
  • low-carb diets

There’s a host of other benefits as well so why not try a bag of your own? Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win! Also be sure to check out their website for more details!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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**I received this product for review in association with FitApproach but all opinions are my own**

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Happy Monday Folks!

I had  pretty slow weekend. I read three books…..so not too much to report on that front. instead I have a yummy, delicious, filling recipe for y’all.

It’s no secret that I don’t really eat a whole lot of meat. It’s b/c I don’t like preparing it more than anything. I occasionally have chicken or fish, especially when I go out to eat, but at home I make mostly meatless meals. It forces me to fill up on veggies b/c that’s all I have on hand.

So when I was really craving my Mom’s chili, and after making the quinoa salad,  I decided to do a little off-roading and create my own. Honestly, chili is so easy to make I can’t really claim this as my own recipe even if I didn’t follow any one else’s recipe. Heck there’s only so many ways to make it. Amiright?

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

I choose to fill mine with beans, black, red, and navy to be exact. I also added corn, green peppers, and green onions. I finished it off with quinoa as the filler since without meat it’s more like soup, not a hearty chili. I also made this in my crockpot, but it can easily be done on the stove as well. After you cook the quinoa, basically you’re just warming things up! What’s easier than that!!

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Really nothing, so there’s no excuse Not to make this meal people. As a self-proclaimed hater of all things cooking that doesn’t involve chocolate, I super enjoyed making this. Super enjoyed…not entirely sure that was proper English, but it remains true all the same.The smells alone, I mean com’on!

I will warn though, that after sitting in the fridge overnight the quinoa soaks up most of the remaining liquid, so either add extra when cooking or be happy with more of a casserole the next day. I left it as is and thought it was fine.

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can red beans
  • ~4 stalks chopped green pepper
  • 1 package McCormick mild chili mix
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups water

[Tweet “A super yummy and vegeatarian Quinoa Chili recipe! #chili #comfortfoods #recipe”]

Cook quinoa then combine all other ingredients and warm. I made it even easier by dumping it all in my crock-pot on high for an hr or so so I didn’t have to watch it. I completely made up this recipe too so feel free to get as creative as you’d like with it. The ingredients I used just happen to be some of my faves but I think I would add some avocado next time? I’m on a slight bender with avocados right now…..

So there ya have it. A super easy and meat-free chili recipe that’s sure to please even the most staunch of meat lovers.

Anyone else have any good quinoa or chili recipes?

Sig

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Linkin up with Meatless Mondays