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Archive for May, 2012

This has been my ride to work for the last week. My husband’s car is in the shop so he has been using mine. So my recreational vehicle has become my main vehicle. I will be the first to admit it, I am a fair weather rider. Well this past week I have ridden in a light sprinkle and 45 degree weather. It was not that bad, but the second I get my car back I am going to rejoice. It’s hard packing all I need for the day in those little side bags. Okay pity part is over.

Oats in a jar or OIAJ, for breakfast.

Added all my favorites, chia seeds, soy milk, nut butter and cinnamon.

Came home to this amazing delight. Popchips sent me a case of there Chili Lime Popchips. I love them, they are such a great company. They were a Blend Retreat sponsor and rewarded any of  the attendees with a 30 day supply for blogging about our experience with popchips. Well that was easy for me, I loved them, I cannot get enough of them.

The chili lime flavor is both spicy hot and sweet, so much flavor, I think  popchips are going to be a staple snack in my house from now on.

Such a satisfying healthy snack. Did I mention that they are all natural flavors and ingredients.

Then I got to dinner. Really excited to try a new recipe for kale.

My little kid, Killian loves him some kale. He loves any green leafy vegetable, well he love all veggies.

Side dish of couscous.

So this recipe for sautéed Kale is easy, it softens it and takes the bitter bite right out.

Cook the onions and garlic with some olive oil, about 5 minutes. Then add the kale and a 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes stirring as needed.

Grilled some chicken breasts.

Put it all together and sprinkled with feta cheese, and dig in.

Love eating on the deck, makes the work week fade away.

Here a Greatest Hits Look Back on a series of Kale posts I have done. Sell you on Kale. Accidents Happen.  With a side of Kale.  Pancakes or Eggs. Anticipation. Keeping up with Kale. Also check out a post that my friend Tamara did over at Wild Blue Wonder for Tofu Kale Triangles.

Wishing you a happy weekend!

Question of the Day: How have you used Kale? Or does seeing recipes for Kale make you want to try it?

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Okay, I think I am addicted to Boot Camps, first there was Tina’s Best Body Boot Camp, then the Boot Camp at the Blend Retreat and now the Fitmixer Boot Camp.  I love organized workout groups, it keeps me motivated and I really look forward to the daily tasks.

So with the Boot Camp I have been introduced to amino’s, well I am excited about this because I really get sore after workouts and the amino’s are supposed to help repair muscle tissue and recover faster.

The entire Boot Camp package looks like this. This will take me through the entire 12 week program.

These are some of the samples I received from the Blend retreat.

The amino’s taste so good, I love the grape flavor.

Along with the powder supplements they also have a healthy diet plan that is designed specifically for each participant from a registered dietitian. Here is my breakfast and lunch. I love to prep my snacks and meals, it keeps me on task and allows more time to concentrate on the workouts. That’s one thing with Boot Camps some of the workouts and moves I am not familiar with, so they usually have videos showing all the moves and proper execution. So I usually watch the video in full, and then I do the workouts. So that can eat up a lot of time, but worth it when you find a new favorite exercise.

After work I head home and get right on my workout’s.

The first day we had a Fit test to complete. The test gauges us at the start of the program and will be repeated mid Boot Camp and then at the end, this will show us how we progressed through the program. My weak area is and has always been my core. I also see from the test that I need to work on my triceps strength. I like that each evening we get our next days workout, a motivational thought, and a nutrition tip of the day. They also have snack suggestions and recipes. So much support is available. Plus on Thursday evenings we have a group conference call. Looking forward to my first call tonight.

Then it’s off to make dinner. I plan on keeping it clean and simple, a lean protein, a hearty carbohydrate and a vegetable, plus the plan even suggests a dinner roll. Love that.

  

Grilled salmon, roasted broccoli and brown rice.

Hello, my name is Dena and I am addicted to Boot Camp.

Check Ya Later.

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My parents came into town for a visit recently and when I asked my mom what she wanted to eat, and she said Middle-Eastern food. I wanted to kiss her through the phone. Besides Greek Food, Middle-Eastern Food is my favorite. I have an ongoing love affair going with hummus. My Italian Grandmother gets upset when I tell her my love for any foods other than Italian, so this is our secret.

The restaurant we went to was beautiful and nicely decorated. Plus when you dine with senior citizens you can find a seat anywhere, Oh the joys of eating dinner at 4pm.

For my dinner I choose the hommous (how it was spelled on the menu) topped with lamb. Hummus is how I always spell it. I guess there are several versions, I don’t care how it’s spelled I love just want an endless supply of it. Anyway.

To start we received a basket of fresh bakes pita bread and the garlic dip.

My dad would not try it, so that left more for me and my mom. My dad is not adventurous with foods, it took me 15 years to get him to try a tiny little bite of tofu, which he claimed almost killed him. He only likes what his mother served him as a child and what my mom continues to serve him. He actually said to me at dinner that he worries about me getting enough protein in my diet because I eat so many strange foods. I have explained to him 100 times that the foods I eat are protein based, like tofu, hummus, and beans. He means well, he’s just really old school. Another funny comment from my dad was, “what do you eat on your cereal since you don’t like milk? I told him I do like milk, but prefer soy milk. He then told me how worried he is that I don’t get enough calcium. Bless his heart.

Then came the salad, just a fresh chopped salad with a light house dressing and fresh herbs. Hidden under all the greens were some really great chunks of cucumbers and tomatoes.

My parents each ordered the shish-kabob and rice. My dad loves shish-kakob and that was probably the only thing on the menu he would order.

Here’s my hommous topped with lamb, it was very good, I loved the spices on the meat, plus the hommous was so thick and flavorful. Dad would not try it, not even a tiny taste, but I will continue to keep at that one, I think he would really like it, if he would only give it a taste.

It was a perfect meal and time well spent with the rents. On a super sweet end note, my dad gave me a box of Godiva chocolates because he worries I don’t eat enough chocolates! Funny, right.

Check Ya Later.

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SWAG, How Many Of Us Love It!

This is my final post on the Blend Retreat. I’m sure from time to time I will add comments or bring up things that happened at the retreat. I hope you enjoy this post on some good eats and treats.

Today’s post is dedicated to the Swag we received. So to start we all received these great t-shirts and name badges.

This is what made it home with me. I was nervous packing all these liquids in my bag, I was so worried that my drinks would explode in my bag, but it was worth the risk, and I am happy to report that nothing broke open. I had to laugh at how scared I was to open my bag and see if there was a mess. So with caution I unzipped my bag and on top of my cloths there sat a note from a TSA officer stating that they had checked my bag. At first I could not tell my bag had been opened and checked, it looked just how I left it, then I noticed that the decorative plastic bags that the Xagave was in was torn open. I guess when my bag was x-rayed it must have looked to delicious not to investigate it. I was so glad that they were so respectful and only looked at what looked suspicious.

During the closing ceremonies I won the Nature Box, and I am just so excited that I did, I have always wanted to try out one of these monthly foodie boxes. I will post about it when I receive my prize.

I put all the goodies back in the bag so I could get a picture to share, I guess I forgot to do that at the retreat, because I could not find a picture of one on my camera, bad blogger…or hungry snacker…

Had to take pictures of my boys trying to help themselves. They felt the need to protect this bag, food makes them crazy. They were so cute peeking into the bag.

This bag was taller than Stuart but that didn’t stop him from getting a look.

Killian really stood guard over the bag. He’s always on the ready for things that fall.

Oh popchips how I love thee. I tried most of the flavors at the retreat and I love them all, but I think the spicy jalapeno is my ultimate favorite flavor.

Then came the Fitmixer swag. We each received a blender bottle and a full size amino powder. Fitmixer was at the retreat with us and they participated in all the activities. Having them at the retreat worked out really well for me because I start the Fitmixer Boot Camp on May 14th. So I asked lots of questions and got a great preview of the products. I will be doing posts on my progress during the Fitmixer Boot Camp. I’m working on building muscle and strength.

Xagave gave us each a full size container and recipe cards, plus they provided an amazing breakfast on Saturday morning. I look forward to baking with this real soon.

Bob’s Red Mill also sent a full size product for us in our swag bag. I have had pearl couscous before, but never whole wheat so I am excited to try this.

Beanitos were also in our bag and I had never tried them and they did not disappoint, they were a great snack.

Love the flax seeds in the chip, they give it a nutty flavor.

Cheribundi is a cherry juice, it is tangy and tart, and I loved it. I am hooked on the Ginger Cherry flavor, and have already experimented with it in a cocktail. Check out this post for a refreshing Adult Cocktail. There are 50 cherries in each container and they are packed with an abundance of antioxidants and nutrients.

Chobani sponsored our breakfast on Sunday morning, we also had lots of bags of Love Grown granola to add to our yogurt. Love Grown also gifted us a full size bag of granola.

 

Our swag bag had this little gem in it. I love Larabar and here they gave us a 4 pack of their new Uber bars.

 

Bobo’s Oat Bar Amazing. The texture and flavor were out of this world. I really dug into this one. It was like eating a wonderful piece of cake.

The Simply Bar was our Flat Iron Hike sponsor and we also received a few bars in our swag bag. They were a great treat and really tasted good. I love nutrition bars and this one is a new favorite.

Cascadian Farm sent us away with a full size box of cereal and some trail mix bars. Really excited to break into that box of cereal.

Core Power was always available at the retreat, which was great because I think I had one after each of the three workouts. I was excited to try this premixed protein drink, and I am so glad I did. Tons of flavor, lots of protein and I loved the smooth texture.

Twin Cakes Bakery also sent us away with some really taste treats. Loved the flavor of the Chia Brownie Bites they were a rich chewy brownie that will satisfy your chocolate cravings. Perfect balance of sweetness. Perfect for an afternoon treat.

Pure Bliss Eats gave us this cute little packages of their Goji Berry Granola. I am saving this one for a special occasion, it looks so delicious I do not know how long I can hold out.

Lush Gourmet Nuts which happen to be made in Kalamazoo Michigan. They are  handcrafted sweetly coated peanuts. Love the sweet flavor and love that they are a Michigan company. Here at 40 Fit in the Mitt I totally love to support companies in my State. Go Michigan.

Nuts about Granola made a special batch of granola for the Blend Retreat. Here’s what they made for us. Ingredients: Whole oats, honey, almonds, organic chia seeds, dried cherries (Bing cherries, sunflower oil), coconut oil, organic wheat bran, pure cherry extract, cinnamon, natural sea salt. Let me say this, “Amazing” look at the size of those Cherries.

 

NuNaturals gave us bottles of their liquid flavored NuStevia and their NuStevia packets. I am really looking forward to trying this out in some baking I have planned soon.

Colorado Fudge Maker, I did not get to try this, my husband got to it before me, but he said this about it, “I want more”! It was packaged so cute for us, I loved all the detail some companies went to. Classy, very classy.

Hanna’s Herb Shop, scored with this one, I get to try out five different types of supplements, again classy touch with the drawstring bag.

 

Pangea Organics gave us a facial scrub and a mask, I plan on using these next week after I have a massage, it will be like a spa day.

Optimun Nutrition , gave two large samples of their Whey Protein Powder, I will be making some smoothies with those babies soon. They were kind enough to give us a chocolate and a vanilla sample.

Attune Foods gave us a box of Erewhon cereal, which I love to make my version of a healthy crispy treat bar.

Mix1 was in our swag bag also, but I drank it on Saturday night and I forgot to take a picture of it, but let me tell you this, I really like it and enjoyed the vanilla flavor, plus it really filled me up. Protein shakes are such a great way to add protein to your diet.

mix1berry.png

Also Dry Soda was in our swag bags and available for us to drink in the Mission Lodge, I tried the cucumber and the vanilla bean. Love them. They were light, sparkling and refreshing, not heavy like a cola.

 

Another fun thing during the retreat was getting other bloggers business cards, some cards were just so darn cute. I might have to think about getting some cards for next years retreat.

So this concludes my Blend Retreat posts. I tried to cover all the events, meals, bloggers and treats from the retreat. I had a great time and feel like I am even more apart of the blogging community, everyone was so nice and I enjoyed the fellowship with all the bloggers. Thank-you Blend for a lifetime of memories.

Check Ya Later.

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Welcome the Virtual Vegan Potluck Post. Today is a great day to find New Blogs and find some Amazing Vegan Recipes.

VVP Button

So a few weeks back on An Unrefined Vegan’s Blog she posted this amazing idea for hosting an Eight Course Virtual Vegan Potluck, as soon as I read it I knew I had to join in. I am not Vegan, but the Potluck was open to all bloggers as long as they followed the Vegan guidelines while preparing their recipe for the Potluck. I truly appreciate being included.

This sign-up list just kept getting bigger and bigger every day. I know I am really excited to read all the posts for the Potluck, I love to look at other people’s blogs and their style of writing posts and how they post recipes, I think it really helps me become a better blogger and a healthier eater.

My first thought was to contribute with a Cocktail. I love preparing a good cocktail and Vodka is my drink of choice. Plus I wanted to leave the Vegan Recipes to the Experts. I am so excited about all the new recipes that will be available through this potluck. Makes me hungry just thinking about all the Luscious Vegan Recipes.

I wanted to make a drink that was light fresh and tart so here’s what I came up with.

Please Enjoy My Cocktail

Vodka Ginger Cherry Zinger 

Grab your favorite Vodka. If you have a drink shaker grab that as well.

Grab your juices and some frozen blackberries.

Cheribundi is a fabulous juice, there are 50 cherries in each drink with an-abundance of antioxidants and nutrients.

In the shaker I added two ice cubes and all the ingredients.

Now shake, shake, shake.

Add the frozen blackberries into the glass and pour the drink from the shaker into the glass.

Realized I needed more blackberries as I started to pour, so I stopped and added a few more and then continued to pour the drink into the glass.

I just love the vibrant red from the cherry juice and the deep dark red from the blackberries. I am always attracted to foods by their color.

Salute! Here’s to a wonderful Virtual Vegan Potluck.

Vodka Ginger Cherry Zinger Recipe

Makes One Drink

  • 1 Shot Vegan Friendly Vodka such as Absolut
  • 2/3 Cup Ginger Cherry Juice
  • Frozen Blackberries
  • Splash of Lime
  • Ice Cubes

Directions: Place frozen blackberries in your glass, then add all ingredients into a shaker bottle along with the ice cubes, and shake, shake, shake. Pour into your garnished blackberry glass and enjoy this tart, refreshing cocktail.

So glad I participated in the Virtual Vegan Potluck, I had so much fun finding other bloggers and I look forward to trying some new Vegan Recipes.

Now to see the course that precedes me, please click on the Go Back button below, but please come back here so I can take you through the rest of the Potluck.  You have to read this bloggers journey. His name is Jason and he blogs over at  Watch Me Lose 150 Pounds. His story is inspiring.

Thanks for coming back, now to see the post that follows mine, please click on the Go Forward button below, and again please come back for my closing remarks on the Potluck. I think you will really enjoy Reading Rachel’s journey becoming vegan, I know I did, she blogs over at Former Fish Taco Fanatic. 

Hey there! So glad you came back. I know you want to see the entire Virtual Vegan Potluck so please follow this Link to see all the Amazing Bloggers and their contribution to the Potluck.

Also I would like to add one side note, I Always Drink Responsibly, I certainly hope that you do too.

Thank-you for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed my portion of the Potluck.

Check Ya Later.

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So now for the Blend Retreat Part #2.

The hike was my favorite activity. I looked forward to doing it from the moment I signed up for the Retreat. This hike was legit, it very challenging and the terrain was rocky. Then add the altitude and the elevation and there you have the 4 mile Flat Irons Hike.

My heart was pounding out of chest within the first few minutes of the hike, I was feeling really out of breath from the altitude, so I adjusted my pace so I could enjoy the hike and the scenery. But you really had to keep your eyes on the path, it was a very rocky path once you got off the main trail leading up the hill.

Stopping to take a picture with Katie was a great way for me to catch my breath.

It was so cool to see the line of bloggers making their way up the mountain.

Felt like I was on a stair stepper for most of the hike. There were portions of the hike that these short little legs had to really stretch out and up to get up on a rock, but that was the best part of the hike, I love a challenge.

The trail winded up and around and sometimes seemed to get quite narrow.

Again, stopping to take pictures helps one catch their breath.

Along the way we were greeted by this little hiker, Bella. She was so cute, and seemed to hike effortlessly.

On the hike I found myself with different groups of bloggers/hikers along the way. Kim and Meghan were great company.

At the Sentinel Pass I found Tiffany, and from there we hiked the entire way back down the hill together.

The landscape is so amazing in Boulder, it’s picture perfect. I swear it was like looking at a postcard.

Loved all the boulders in Boulder. I love rocks, I love taking pictures of rocks, clearly.

Post hike protein shakes provided by Core Power. I needed fuel after that hike and the vanilla shake hit the spot, it was very taste. It was real milk protein designed for post workout recovery. Recovery is just what I needed.

After the hike we cleaned up and headed out to lunch. We went to lunch at the Mountain Sun Brewery and Restaurant.

Mountain Sun had so many beers to choose from, and I was not sure what to order so I was given a sample, but unfortunately another side effect from the high altitude is alcohol can go straight to your head, and after just the sample glass I realized alcohol was not a good idea for me, so I went back to water. I think I drank gallons of water over the week-end. The shuttle bus driver told me it was a great way to help ease altitude sickness when I first arrived in Boulder, so I took his advice and chugged. I was bummed out that I could not sample a few different beer flavors, I love me a nice cold beer.

Beers, beers and more beers, I did not get to drink.

Lunch was a blackened shrimp and blue cheese wrap with a side salad, it was so good. After lunch I headed back to my cottage and took a nap, I was tired.

When I woke up I wanted a snack so I looked in my swag band and found some popchips. Can I just say this, I am in love with popchips, they have so much flavor. They are all natural popped snacks. I had several different flavors at the retreat, but I think the Jalapeno and the chili lime are my absolute favorites. Spicy, tangy and crispy. Perfection. I love it when I find a really good healthy snack.

Zesty also comes to mind.

Most of the girls went back out for dinner and drinks later in the evening, but I stayed back and relaxed on the back porch and had some more snacks from my swag bag. I called my husband and took a long hot shower. I went to bed early in anticipation of the Boot Camp that we were having bright and early on Sunday morning.

Putting my feet up is all I wanted to do.

Sunday morning Boot Camp was led by Tiffany at Chobani Fit, she kicked our butt’s, plus it’s 7am and it’s cold.

She was very good at motivating us, she really got my pumped up and ready for a great workout.

No excuses here, these girls are tuff and a little cold and an early start time can not stop them.

Learned a new stretch called the Pigeon Pose. Where have I been, this stretch was perfect for my tight hips.

After the workout we all headed to breakfast which was sponsored by Chobani. I had the pineapple yogurt with some simply oats Love Grown granola. Talk about a perfect combination.

Then came the Closing Ceremony and Raffle. Which made me super sad because I knew that this was our last activity and that we would all be going home soon.

I was super excited when I won the Nature Box Raffle. This entitles me to one month’s worth of healthy snacks. So looking forward to getting this package in the mail.

After the raffle took place, all the ladies went outside and we took our group photo. Photo taken from Ashley at Edible Perspective.

After the photo it was time to checkout of our cottage.

A bunch of us meet outside the main lodge and waited for our taxi’s and shuttle bus.

Last minute hugs and goodbyes were everywhere.

I made my way to the airport and had my gopicnic in the laptop/cell phone charging station area.

This lunchbox has all my favorites.

Hummus and crackers always make me happy.

I am really looking forward to Blend 2013. Our hosts were amazing, the swag was stellar and company was outstanding.

Check Ya Later.

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So this past week-end I attended the Blend Retreat. It was the highlight of my year so far. I had an amazing time. I met so many amazing ladies. It was really fun being a part of the First Annual Blend Retreat.

It was held in Boulder Colorado at Chautauqua Park.

I had great roommates, Katie at Talk Less, Say More and Amanda at Diary of a Semi-Health Nut.

We had this super cute cottage.

All the rooms were cozy and rustic.

  

Then there was the view off the back porch.

Once I arrived I was greeted by our hosts Lindsay, Katie and Janetha.

Above photo taken from Katie’s Blog.

Also received my Big Bag of Swag. There was some really Amazing stuff in this bag. I think I will dedicate a post to the swag bag. I really want to cover all the goodies we received. There are some very generous companies that showed us bloggers some serious love and I’d like to do the same in return for them.

After we settled in to our cabin and got to know one another a bit, we headed to the dining hall for a meet and greet cocktail hour followed by dinner and dessert. This gave us an opportunity meet fellow bloggers.

  

The table was loaded with some of my favorite bloggers.

Had some cupcakes from Street Fare.

They were so beautiful and taste.

There was a mad rush for the cupcakes when dinner was over, we each got to choose 3 mini cupcakes, I choose the Raspberry Lavender, S’mor, and Peanut Butter Pretzel. Absolutely loved the Raspberry Lavender.

Saturday morning at 7am, we had Boot Camp.

I was really excited to meet my Best Body Boot Camp instructor Tina.

Tina and Lindsay lead the Boot Camp on Saturday morning. It was so much fun.

Above picture taken from Lindsay.

Here are some scenes from the Boot Camp.

     

Got to meet the lovely ladies from fitmixer. I start the fitmixer Boot Camp on May 14th. so it was really nice to meet them and talk to them about the program and what to expect. I really liked meeting the people behind the products.

   fitmixer Boot Camp

My favorite Boot Camp picture has to be this one.

After Boot Camp it was off to breakfast.

We had an amazing breakfast courtesy of Xagave.

     

Beverage by Cheribundi.

Loved the tart cherry flavor, I am not a coffee drinker so I headed straight to the Cheribundi table.

So far this post covers Friday evening through Saturday morning breakfast. I really wanted to break up the post into three parts due to how detailed this trip really was. Plus it’s difficult to cram an entire week-end into one post.

Check ya Later.

 

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