Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why Me?

Do you ever have those days.... you know those days? The "Why Me?!" days? That was today this week.
(*if you do not want to hear about a girl rant about her stressful week followed by graces of God-quit reading now*)

For those of you that are still here- Let me explain...

So the week started out like any other-fine, dandy, chem. lab got out early even! (can I get a "Woot Woot?" ) Anyways-then I decided to look at my grades for my hardest class... YIKES! Not a good idea :( I'm the type of person that stresses about grades, let's just say tensions were a little higher after I checked these out...
Then I realized I had my first Chemistry Exam in ...FOUR DAYS?! And the review session I had just been to did not make me feel confident in the slightest.
As homework piled, weather gloomed, and the cafeteria just seemed to not have anything worth eating (we can all see where my priorities lay) I got more and more upset with life.

Then-about, oh, 3 hours ago, after finishing up my Physiology Lab (not exactly the highlight of my week) I decide to walk into the restroom and wash my hands from everything we had to dissect in lab...
Long story short, bookbag swung off back-cell phone in zipper, zipper = not zipped, phone + toilet = :O
Yes, my phone had flown into the toilet, less than one month after receiving it. Wow. Dandy. Find and dandy.

So dramatic, emotional Kristen grabbed it, and sunk to the floor of the biology lab center's bathroom and cried.

After I pulled myself together, I stomped back to my dorm room, borrowed my friend's phone and informed my mother. She said we would figure it all out, as only a mother can and that she'd email me later after we threw it in rice and saw how that went. If worse came to worse we could always call the insurance company (yes, we have phone insurance for this little accident-prone child!).

Alright, so I after typing this out, I'm already feeling ridiculous about freaking out about all this,  but... for the sake of who knows what, I'm going to finish!

So-back to my issues...
I'm sitting in my room fuming wondering what I was going to do with my night, I couldn't study anymore, not in this stressed out state, and after trying hard with multiple emails, I could not get ahold of my mom to vent. So what's a girl to do?

But not just any run. This girl needed some serious P.R. (aka-prayer running)
So I did. I went and ran.
At first the P.R. was more of a pout run.
To give you insight to my brain, it went a little something like this...
"Why me? Why this week? What does me dropping my new phone in the toilet have to do with Your plan God? WHY!? Why is my mom not answering her emails? Why is this Chemistry not coming easily? Why are my grades not very hot in physiology? WHY!? I. Do. Not. Understand. I'm trying to do my best to further Your will. But this week is tearing me down Lord! What is up? Why. Me."

And then, in His soft and loving voice, as only God can, I heard...
"Yes, why you?"
"Why, Kristen, are you so lucky to have a new phone when some children can't afford new shoe? Why are so blessed with people who want to talk and spend time with you on your phone? Why were you given a mother that is currently spending time substitute teaching your brother's religion class instead of sitting right beside her computer? Why do you have a body that can run and walk and learn, when some people don't have two working legs? Why are you able to go to a University of your choice? And study what you want? And feel safe, secure, and at home in this place?
...daughter, I'm wondering the same thing-Why You?"

Woah. Talk about hitting you like a ton of bricks. I get it now, I see the reasoning, (well at least the part God is sharing with me). I see how this 'disaster' was sent to me to bring me back to earth, to show me how to take a deep breath and realize everything is going to be fine. Grades will bounce back, tests will be survived through, phones can get repaired.
It is our relationship with God, with loved ones, with ourselves that are important. It is love. 

So take a deep breath, smile, relax (go for a P.R., or eat some chocolate peanut butter) and keep on keeping on! Because life is too short, and God is too powerful to sweat the small stuff!

Psalm 20~
The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble;
the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;
2 send thee help from the sanctuary,
and strengthen thee out of Zion;
3 remember all thy offerings,
and accept thy burnt sacrifice.
4 Grant thee according to thine own heart,
and fulfil all thy counsel.
5 We will rejoice in thy salvation,
and in the name of our God we will set up our banners:
the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.
6 Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed;
he will hear him from his holy heaven
with the saving strength of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses:
but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
8 They are brought down and fallen:
but we are risen, and stand upright.
9 Save, LORD:
let the king hear us when we call.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lightning Quick Biscuits (Homemade BisQuick)

Warm honey and soft butter melting into the crevices of a hot biscuit...

Want a warm, soft and delicious biscuit NOW?! 
Of course, who doesn't? 
But sometimes we just can't get what we want... Or can we?

With my biscuit recipe-you CAN! They're super fast, because... well-I cheat! Yes, I admit I use BisQuick-but it's not really cheating, because I make my own homemade BisQuick! :)

Homemade Whole-Wheat BisQuick:
-3 cup whole wheat flour
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 TBSP. sugar
-1 tsp. salt
-1 1/2 TBSP. baking powder
-2/3 cup shortening

~Just mix all dry together and cut in shortening. Store in freezer. Stays good up to 3-4 months!

Now to make the biscuits-
-2 cups Homemade BisQuick
-1/3 cup buttermilk
-1 TBSP. butter

1. Mix all together
will be VERY sticky!

now you can use an ice cream scoop for uneven biscuits...

like these above

Or roll them out for smooth biscuits such as these

Eiter way, you won't be sorry you just got exactly what you wanted in little to no time!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Family Dinner - Chicken Not-Fried Steak and Garlic Red Skin Mashed Potatoes

Does anyone in this country still believe in the beautiful, nostalgic idea of a big Sunday Family Dinner?
...of course followed immediately by a nice Sunday nap!

Well I do!
And I hope all of you do as well, why?
Well... I'm sure you all know the benefits of eating healthy meals, and everyone has heard the advantages of eating as a family. So.... if you have a family dinner that is healthy think of how awesome you'll be!?  

So just in case you need a new and delicious idea for a family meal that doesn't take long to prepare, uses everyday ingredients, is food for the soul and healthy - I've provided you with one of my favorites! 
Let me present - in it's healthy-fied version:
Chicken 'Fried' Steak and Garlic Red Skin Mashed Potatoes with White Gravy and Peas showing at a family dinner table near you.

So let's get started, shall we-

First, let's go over what you will need to make EVERYTHING for this smile-inducing meal.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
-Red skin potatoes (I recommend one per person)
-2-3 TBSP. Greek yogurt 
-Garlic (I prefer to use the pre-minced stuff that comes in a jar, more economical)
~add to your preference, but I usually do 2 TBSP. of the minced kind when I make 8 potatoes worth.
-2-3 TBSP. Milk
-2-3 TBSP. Sour Cream (fat-free kind works just fine, if you want a lower fat version)
-1 TBSP. butter (light butter, again if you want it even lower fat)
-Seasonings: garlic salt, onion powder, pepper
Chicken not-'Fried' Steak
-Chicken Breast (one per person)
-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-1/3 cup whole wheat flour
-1/3 fiber one original cereal
-1/2 buttermilk (regular milk works too in a pinch)
-2 TBSP. cornstarch
-egg white of 1 egg
White Gravy
-2/3 cup milk
-1/3 cup chicken stock - at least (can just use water if you don't want to open a whole can of stock)
-2 TBSP. flour
-1 TBSP. butter
-Seasoning: onion salt/powder, pepper

Ok! Let's get down to business... (well now I have the Mulan song stuck in my head!)

First things first, start de-thawing your chicken breasts if they were frozen. 
Then you will want to pound them flat - do this by placing them in a ziplock bag and using your pent-up aggressions and a rolling pin to squash 'em!
Then get them into a nice bath of 1/2 cup buttermilk

while they are soaking...
For the potatoes:
First, you will want to wash, but DO NOT peel, your red skin potatoes
Then cut them into small chunks, try to make them equal in size

While doing this, you can start bringing a pot of water to boiling
When the water is boiling, add your chopped potatoes and let them cook until a fork can go through them, but not so long that they are mush
Remove the pan from the stove and drain immediately, then rinse with cold water (this stops the cooking process so all the starch doesn't make the potatoes sticky)
Place aside, we're now moving on to the chicken.

For the chicken not-fried steak:
Place your fiber one in a blender/food processor-or just throw in a ziplock baggie and smash with a rolling pin! You want the cereal to be completely smooth.

Now you can start setting up your assembly line-
dish 1. all-purpose flour
dish 2. egg white
dish 3. crushed fiber one, whole wheat flour, cornstarch and seasonings

Now remove chicken from buttermilk, and let the excess milk drip off
Then dredge in flour
Dip in egg white
Coat in breading
Place on a plate where they will rest until we are ready to 'fry'
Easy as 1, 2, 3!

All coated up and ready to go!
By the way, now would be a dandy time to turn your stove-top on medium and oven on 350*

Now, to 'fry' them.
You want to get a big skillet hot on a stove-top
When it is hot, either coat the pan with 1 TBSP oil or spray with non-stick cooking spray

Then immediately add your chicken breast and spray the top of the chicken with cooking spray as well
Let cook a few minutes, until starting to get golden, and flip and allow other side to 'fry' as well

You will be left with pretty well 'fried' chicken steaks, but some parts will not be golden and they will probably not be hot all the way through.
So to fix that-place them on a wire rack (like a cookie cooling rack) and then on a baking sheet and place in a 350* oven
These will cook for around 20ish minutes, which just so happens to be the perfect amount of time to finish up the potatoes, make the gravy and heat the peas.

Your skillet will probably look like this:

which is perfect! You better not be one of those people that washes dishes ASAP and has already cleaned this-because you need the skillet remains to make the gravy!
Next you want to make your 'rue' - for this combine your flour and 1/3 cup milk and whisk until smooth.
Now place your skillet back on the heat and add your butter until it melts. Then add rue and stir continuously until it starts getting thick. Then add remaining milk, chicken stock to desired thickness and bring it up to a simmer. Add your spices and you're done!

Now we can finish up the spuds!
In a big bowl, mash the cooked potato chunks - using potato masher, or if you're lazy (like me) you can use a hand mixer :)
Then add in everything else-
milk, yogurt, sour cream, butter, garlic and spices
You can rewarm in the microwave or place in the oven (if your bowl is oven proof of course!) with tin foil overtop

Heat up your peas in the microwave, or on the stove-top in about 1 inch of water

That's It! You're completely done with this very impressive meal 
Just set the table, fill the water pitcher, and ring the dinner bell! 

Dinner. Is. Served. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Barefoot Yoga Co.

With a name like Barefoot you may think this review revolved around shoes perhaps? Maybe foot cream? Nope! Wrong
Barefoot Yoga Company is a 'source of yoga supplies, yoga clothing and mats'

I was lucky enough to receive a yoga mat from Barefoot Co. to try and review.

Let's look over what I thought...
The yoga mat I got was a Mysore Practice Rug. It is an extremely large (in relation to other yoga mats and rugs I've seen) cotton rug.
My thoughts:
-it wasn't like any other yoga mat-and for good reason, it was a yoga rug. Yes-there is a difference! In my opinion, yoga rugs are thinner and larger.
-I didn't like the thinner aspect, since I'm kind of a pansy...
-it was really nice to have a bigger rug so my entire body fit on it and I didn't have to move around!

Barefoot Yoga makes a TON of amazing stuff, and they have such creative design! Unique, for sure.

Kelly LeFebvre - the creator has a definite passion and knowledge of yoga!

They have everything for your yoga needs! From mats, to rugs, to clothes, books, eye pillows and accessories! Seriously... everything!

This is the one I have! Cute, right?! Love the colors! :)

They are quality quality products! I have had my yoga mat for a while now and it still looks and feels like new!

If you are a yoga-fanatic, this company is one you should definitely check out!

*The only thing I received from Barefoot Yoga Co, was the yoga rug, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quest Bar - Review time!

So yes I have another product review for all you loyal readers out there!

Quest Bars! Heard of 'em? I hadn't until I was given the opportunity to review their stuff!

Quest bars are:
Nutrition Bars - carbs - gluten + protein + fiber - sugar (of any kind) - soy protein = YUM!
They call themselves the bar that is known for what it isn't. How cool and creative is that? I was soooo impressed that they tasted as good as they did without ANY sugar. That means no sugar, no sugar alcohols, no artificial sweetener. Nothing. 
They have sooo much fiber - like 17g a bar! And around 20ish grams of protein. That's pretty amazing if you ask little ole me!
Doesn't seem as if all my snacking revolves around studying chem? Probably stress induced snacking :S

Oh look! No chem book! :) The peanut butter supreme is probably my favorite. Or the PB&J. Hard call.

They are delicious. At first I was a little taken aback by the texture. Just not what I was expecting. They are definitely not a granola bar. They are very chewy and at first, a little gritty. But that was only with the first one - all the other types I've tried have added things in them (i.e. nuts) so the texture if fabulous. 

Overall - a super delicious bar with great nutritional value, especially if you are one of the many people in this world that are much stronger than I am and follow a low-carb diet. :/ Man-I get upset just thinking about a day without bread, granola, oatmeal!

Oh-I almost forgot! Quest also sells "Cravings"
They are real food that tastes like candy. Full of protein (20 grams) and only 4g of carbs.
What are they exactly? Peanut butter cups! Yes-that's right! :) 

In other news...

I had a take-out salad from Hy-vee the other day! How cool is that?! I didn't even know you could do that! Just fill up your take-out bowl with whatever-the-heck-you-want off the salad bar, weigh it, and away you go. Oh, I forgot pay. Before you go and after you weigh it :)

I tried hash browns on the waffle iron the other day (yes I stole it from Pinterest!)


Just make sure your waffle iron is UBBER hot, spray it with non-stick spray, through some thawed hash browns (if they were first frozen of course :P ) and shut the lid...

about 5 minutes later you have these little beauties!

And think-they were made in a jif, with little to no oil!
Thank you yet again Pinterest.

Happy Friday to all! 
Peace. Love. and Peanut Butter.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Alright, so this post won't be completely wordless since that would essentially mean I'm not talking, and if you know me at all-you would know I need to talk!

So here goes more of a 'extreme-picture-laden' Wednesday :)

The day started off AMAZINGLY! ...probably since the very last thing I did the night before was watch this:
For anyone who wants to know-I cried when they finished their 5k. Sap-I know, but I just can't help it! I can't wait to help people overcome their fears and do more than they ever dreamed possible!

So I got up-and in celebration of my personal training aspirations did a Jillian Micheals workout! Ain't no betta way to start the day!

Oh wait, there is - I remembered to grab my Bible before heading off to breakfast in the dining hall. This always makes my day get off to a great start! I love beginning the day in The Word. If you're looking for a way to start your day off right, do it with Jesus! You won't be sorry :)

And to make my day even better, I got to try my sample of this:

AHHHH! You guys- seriously, I don't even know how to explain how freakin' amazing this stuff is! I'm not sure if it has like a-kajillion more times the caffeine as coffee (ok-actually I do know, it says on the package that it has about the same amount as one cup regular caffeinated coffee). But it seriously got me so 'jived' (<- word of the day!)

It was delicious tasting and is sooo good for you! Seriously-it was like a party in a coffee-shop in my mouth! 
And I can have a good excuse for drinking it, because it has so many vitamins and minerals and PROTEIN! 20 g worth! Ya... pretty much like 3 eggs! :O 

It comes in a nice little single serve package like so...

And you put it in 10ish ounces of water (or milk) like so....

And mix (with a fork, blender ball, just shaking, anything!)
*Chike also sells a bunch of other flavors of single mix-in protein drinks, if you aren't a coffee-Fein like myself!
It is soooo smooth! Honestly, I can NOT take just mixing any kind of protein powder with just a liquid, I think it taste chalky and gritty and have to just use it in a smoothie to be able to bear it. But this-this was something special! It mixed in so easily and quickly and tasted like a creamy, decadent latte! I gave it a splash of milk, just because I wanted it to go farther, added so coffee ice cubes and away I went! Happily slurping my way through the day....

Slurpin' through some Chemistry homework... believe you and me-ice coffee Chike Nutrition style really makes Chemistry easier to bear! Fun almost! ...almost...

I also snacked on some hummus dip in a cute little single serve squeezable package-cute no?

And got to try yet ANOTHER one of my product review samplings - Crunchies.

It's freeze dried pineapple!

Look at those stats! :O The whole package had 150 calories. Wowza! Not to mention 180% of your vitamin C need, 6g fiber and 12% iron. And the only ingredients: pineapple!

Crunchies has a bunch of different freeze dried snacks, both fruits and vegetables; mixed blends, seasoned goodies as well as organic options.

They are so good for you, fun to chop on, delicious and an easy to grab snack!

So after Chem lecture, Physiology lecture, Chem recitation, Physiology lab (where I go to be the volunteer to have my urine analyzed! Woo-hoo! ..too much sharing? :/ Sorry!), working on a group project for over 2 hours, and homework, homework, and more homework - how do I reward myself?

With a HUGE bowl of granola of course!
Yum x 3!

But now I feel like this....
So I'm off to bed! Goodnight and God Bless!

*If you actually made it to this point in the post-I am honored, amazed and wish I had your attention span!

~Chike Nutrition and Crunchies only sent me samples to review. I was not given any other compensation. All opinions are my own.~

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Frosted Peanut Butter Bars

Would you just look at that peanut butter ooey-gooey frosting dripping off that chewy snack bar?

Now think about how healthy it is! I'm not joking... healthy peanut butter frosting. Yes, I did it! *bow*

1 egg
1/2 cup applesauce
1 small banana (mashed)
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup flour (any kind-I used coconut and it worked!)
1 cup puffed wheat cereal
1 cup oats
1 cup rice crispies
1/2 cup bran flakes (or any other cereal)
1/2 cup fiber one (or any other cereal)

yum yum with bananas!

All you do is blend the egg, banana, applesauce, honey until nice and smooth
Then mix in baking powder, salt, flour
Finally add in all the cereals
Bake on 350* for 10-12 minutes - not long, just enough to make it set

Now for the frosting!
Just mix equal parts peanut butter and milk and warm in microwave. (start with 1 tbsp.)
Add a splash of vanilla
Then mix in powdered sugar (you can do it sugar free!)*
And mix until it is smooth
Spread over warm, but not straight out of oven bars

*Blend sugar substitute in a high powered blender until it becomes sugar-free powdered 'sugar'

Have a happy day! :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Barlean's Organic Oils

Organic oils huh? Interesting I know... but who knew that 'organic oils' could make amazing smoothies, fruit parfaits, ice cream toppings and granola?!
Not me - until now!

I recently was given the opportunity to sample and review a few of Barlean's products - the omega swirl, coconut oil and chia seed.

WOW! This company really does make stand-up products. But their most interesting, and (in my humble opinion) delicious product is their Omega Swirl.
What is Omega Swirl? Well I'm glad you asked! Because, well, if you didn't my blog post would have ended there, and that wouldn't have been very interesting now would it?

Omega Swirl (according to my experience and the Barlean website) is:
-an omega-3 nutrient supplement that has the taste and texture of a smoothie - Ohhhhh yes it does! It is so smooth, creamy and flavorful! I had the lemon version and it was THE BOMB. Seriously, I added it to my smoothies, fruit parfaits, even on top of ice cream! It gave it an amazingly refreshing lemon-y flavor, and of course-loads of omega-3 goodness!
-Omega-3 fatty acids have oh so many health benefits, such as:
~joint mobility and bone density
~heart health
~skin, hair and nail health
~mental health
...just to name a few!

Here is the nutritional info:

There are so many great flavors available, and now they sell Omega Swirl To-Go! (we all know Kristen LOVES single serve to-go packets!)

So if you're looking for a fun, not to mention DELISH way to bump up your healthy fats - you've got to try some Omega Swirl! It is so easy to incorporate into your life, and heck-if you're feeling lazy, just slurp it right off a spoon! (yes-it is that good)
this would be a smoothie I made (in the dead of winter, obviously) that tasted like HAWAII!!!
It consisted of: vanilla yogurt, milk, barleans omega swirl and frozen pineapple. 

*Barlean's only sent me samples to review. All opinions and statements are my own, I received no compensation. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Coconut Secrets - Product Review

I have a new product review for you readers today!
They are.....

Oh wait, this is a healthy foods blog... what am I doing review sugar and flour?!
That's right, that's right... it's healthy! Yes, you've heard me right, I'm going to tell you about sugar (well, it's kinda sugar) and flour - but it is not your traditional white sugar and white flour.

Enter-Coconut Secret
This company has a beautiful background story about how they are where they are in life right now. They sell a variety of products made straight from the coconut.

The two I reviewed are Coconut Flour and Coconut Crystals

So let's start with Coconut Flour!
If you've never used coconut flour, start now. There are so many reasons to using coconut flour - first, it provides a delicious, sweet and subtle coconut flavor. It also is a great alternative for those that cannot metabolically digest regular gluten-laden flour. But...the biggest reason-HEALTH! Coconut flour has soooo much fiber! 6g for every 2 TBSP! :O Not to mention the 3.5 g of protein for every 2 TBSP. all at around 60 calories.
If you do start to substitute coconut flour for your regular flour, be sure to find recipes that would be able to handle extra liquid because coconut flour requires much much more liquid than regular flour. You also may have to add more eggs. Just play around with it!
My favorite way to use coconut flour is in smoothies! It gives me extra fiber, protein and coconut deliciousness :)

Moving on... Coconut Crystals
Coconut crystals are a sweet-tasting, sugar alternative that has a low glycemic index. It also has less calories than sugar - at 30 per tablespoon. I have used it in a variety of ways, and I can tell you that even if you don't like the flavor of coconut, you will still like coconut crystals! They don't have much of a coconut flavor, but they do provide sweetness! It can easily be substituted for brown sugar in almost any recipes. *I really like to use it in coffee... shocker huh? :P
Just look at this comparison:
Woah! Right?!
Now I can say - this isn't sugar... it's my multivitamin! How sweet (punny I know) is that?!

I've been experimenting with a lot of different recipes substituting coconut flour and coconut crystals, as well as just creating brand new ones! As soon as they're perfected they'll be up for all y'all!
If any of you have tried either of these products and made so delicious-ness with them, let me know!

Thanks Coconut Secret for the chance to review your great product! I'm also so appreciative of your high standards you set for all your products - as a consumer that is a HUGE factor!

*All I was given from Coconut Secrets was their two products to review. All statements and opinions are strictly my own.