Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIAW.. Tortilla style!

Thanks to all who read my Smucker's Peanut Butter review yesterday! If you missed it, click HERE to read all of my thoughts on National Peanut Butter Day as well.

Today is not National Peanut Butter Day unfortunately, but it is Wednesday, and that should be a holiday all by itself. Because it's time for What-I-Ate-Wednesday!

IDK why this image isn't working, but...

I posted my eats so far below and I will post the rest later. Today's theme is tortillas because both my breakfast and dinner feature these awesome things. If you want to check out more of my tortilla ideas, click on this post: Just a Regular Day in the Neighborhood.

Breakfast quesadilla made with garden vegetable tortilla, vegan cheeze sauce, egg beaters and ground turkey. Plus almonds.

Everyone is probably getting tired of my bento boxes already, but... Not Me! So, for your enjoyment here is another Peanut Butter Lover's Bento Box (minus the pb). TL: Homemade pita bread, TR: Unsalted pistachios, BL: Turkey burger, lettuce and veggies to put in pita and BR: plain popcorn.

Lots of random eats today, and lots of snacking that I didn't take pictures.
Last bit of stale popcakes.. :(

Strawberry and chocolate muffin concotions.

Taco pizza made with broiled tortilla and topped with vegan cheeze sauce, ground beef and sauteed mushrooms, peppers and onions.

Cut into slices for easy munching while working on the computer.
Banana ice cream topped with mixed frozen berries.

You can now follow me on TWITTER and Pinterest!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Did you that today is probably my favorite holiday of all time? Anything with peanut butter really, is my favorite. Peanut butter sandwiches? Check. Moosestracks with peanut butter cups? Awesome. Peanut butter on pancakes, peanut butter on waffles, peanut butter on strawberry slices for goodness sakes!

In honor of National Peanut Butter today, I am going to review my favorite peanut butter brand. This is my first review, and will probably always remain my favorite!

Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter

What I use it for:
Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter is a product that I use everyday for virtually all meals. For breakfast I will use this peanut butter to top my sugar free chocolate pancakes, spread it on toast, and mix it with my various oatmeal/protein powder concotions. For lunch I usually pair this peanut butter product with baby carrots along with a salad or sandwich. Snacks with peanut butter include greek yogurt + peanut butter, protein powder "goop" made with protein powder, peanut butter and milk, and my sugar free chocolate banana cake topped with peanut butter. For dinner I may just eat a scoop of peanut butter on the side for a dose of healthy fats, or occasionally I will indulge in a peanut butter and (all natural fruit spread) jelly sandwich.

Nutritional Facts: Serving Size 2 Tbsp (32g)
Calories: 200
Total Fat: 16g
Sodium: 105mg
Total Carbohydrates: 6g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 1g
Protein: 7g

This one is simple because Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter only contains two ingredients: peanuts and salt.

Packaging and Pricing:
This peanut butter comes in a 16 oz glass jar and has about 14 servings per container, or 28 tablespoons.
At Wal-Mart this peanut butter is priced at $3.50. Compared to regular peanut butter like Jif this is much more expensive, but that is because it doesn't contain any additives, hydrogentated oils or sugar. Compared to similar natural peanut butters bought at places like Trader Joe's, Whole Foods or Krogers, this is a steal and comes in at least one to two dollars cheaper.

I will be the first to admit that this tastes nothing like the Jif peanut butter that you grew up eating in your PB&J's. That peanut butter was smooth, sickly sweet and the optimie of "creamy." This peanut butter however, is the optimie of "natural." Containing only peanuts and salt, this has a natural creaminess and a texture that lends it self more towards the Jif crunchy brands I assume. Smucker's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, while not sweetened with sugar, has a natural sweetness that comes through the peanuty flavor. It takes a while to get used to it, but after a week or two will become addicted to the taste. I have been known to attack the jar with a spoon in my most desperate examples.

  • The ingredient list is simple with only peanuts and salt.
  • It is lower in sugar than most other brands.
  • It is reasonably priced compared to similar products offered by other companies.
  • This product does not contain any partially hydrogenated oils that have been linked to many serious side effects.
  • It contains healthy unsaturated fats that have been linked with improved health.

  • Because this is a natural product, there is oil separation and must be stirred well before consumption.
  • It is not as sweet as other brands because of its lack of sweetener.

Final Thoughts:
I would rank this as a 9/10. It is only 1 point away from being perfect because I have noticed that its degree of saltiness varies widely based on the jar. Each jar tastes fine and I enjoy it without complaint, but I think that that is one area that could be improved upon.
Overall, this product is awesome and can be used for anything really. I use it in any recipe calling for regular peanut butter and have had no problems. I would recommend that you buy this now!

Additional Buys:
I just discovered this when doing some research on Smucker's website. Totally brilliant! I know what I'm asking for on my 18th birthday!!

It stirs up the oil that creates such a hassle in natural peanut butters!
What is your favorite way to eat Peanut Butter?

Here are mine:

Check out my collection of Peanut Butter and Jelly recipes from around the foodie world here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIAW + Vegan Cheeze Sauce!

As I have previously mentioned, I have not been allowed to consume dairy because of my stomach problems. So... I have been forced to experiment and try dairy-free products. For example, I have switched to almond milk instead of skim milk, and I have also given up my whey protein powder for the time being. Now I get my protein soley from meat, eggs and bean sources.

I haven't had a lot of time to blog recently, so I will keep this WIAW short. To make it worth your time however, I have included a vegan cheeze sauce recipe at the end for your enjoyment!

I didn't have much time for breakfast this morning, so I cooked both a small patty of egg beaters and ground turkey in the microwave. I made a sandwich out of these, wheat toast and my vegan cheeze sauce (recipe below). Then for some healthy fats I ate some almonds. There were more but I got hungry when taking pictures...
Don't you just love our Santa placemats?
I have two study halls in the morning for my post-secondary classes. One of them is in the library, and since I know the librarian's daughter, I can usually get away with having a small snack like carrots, nuts or today's apple slices:

Golden Delcious are the best!

In my bento box today I had: TL: Plain popcorn, TR: Apple slices, BL: Salad with lettuce, chicken and peppers, BR: Unsalted pistachios.

Peanut butter and Popcakes.

I love peanut butter!

For Dinner I had leftover roast beef, strawberries and unsalted sunflower seeds.

Normally I would eat roast beef with ketchup, but I can't have tomatoes as well as dairy :(

Sugar-free chocolate cake.
Homemade cake batter ice cream made out of bananas!
With peanut butter.

Mixed with raspberries!

Here is my promised recipe, adapted from OhSheGlows.

Vegan Cheeze Sauce

Makes 2/3 cup without pumpkin puree

Calories: 180 for entire recipe w/o pumpkin, 255 w/ pumpkin

  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp unbleached flour
  • 6 tbsp nutritonal yeast
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (optional)

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat and coat with 1 tsp of canola to prevent sticking.
  2. In a bowl mix together the almond milk and unbleached flour. Add this mixture along with the nutritional yeast to the pan and combine.
  3. Reduce the heat before adding the mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Let the sauce thicken up for about 5 minutes. At this point you can add the pumpkin puree if you wish.

I made half the recipe with pumpkin and the other half without. The pumpkin version tastes really good over pasta like macaroni and cheese.

The regular version is good on toast or sandwiches.

This is surprising good and cheese-like even though it contains no dairy! It is also much lower in sodium than traditional cheeses and has a good amount of protein.


Do you have any dairy-free recipes like the one above that you would recommend?

What would you top with this vegan cheeze sauce? I used mine for mac & cheese, breakfast sandwiches and healthy chili, chips & cheese.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 Snow Day Snacks Part 1

To me, the best thing about Winter is snow, and with it, Snow Days! Yesterday my brother and I got up bright and early to check the local radio stations to see if our school was on the list for closings and delays. It wasn't, but we weren't deterred and we kept checking back until it was.

Having a snow day was a little disappointing because, as you may remember, I had semester exams on Thursday and Friday, but that was largely overshadowed by the fact that we DIDN'T HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL! Now with a four day weekend I have even more time to procrastinate study and more time to bake clean. But I think Senioritis hit me early this year, because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't even crack a book let alone study.

Instead I did what I do best: Sit on my loveseat and pour over health food blogs. Then, inspiration struck! One of the blogs I read mentioned nutri-grain bars and... oh! Who am I kidding? As soon as I read those words I was already clicking on my trusty search engine Yahoo! and typing in "homemade nutri-grain bar recipes." None of them were quite what I was looking for though. Some used yogurt (no good as I can't eat dairy temporarily), some used way too much sugar (in the form of cake mixes, and where's the healthy in that?) and a lot "tasted" like Nutri-Grain bars but looked nothing like the bars I love and remember so well.

So, like in the past, I was on my own. In the end I used the ratios of basic baked good recipes and after two tries I succeeded in making a healthy, tasty snow day treat that rivals the supermarket snack:

Healthy Nutri-Grain Bars

Servings: 8 bars

Calories: about 100 calories each (varies with filling)

Great with a cup of Joe on the go!
  • 3 dates (or 1 tbsp honey)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup egg beaters (replace with egg substitute or fruit puree to veganize)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 7 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • Filling: fruit puree, applesauce + cinnamon, sugar-free jam or... pb + chocolate chips (add sugar if needed to sweeten)

  1. Place the dates in a small bowl and cover with applesauce. microwave on 50% for 2 minutes.
  2. Put soaked dates, applesauce, egg beaters and vanilla extract in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  3. Put all of the rolled oats in a food processor and blend for about 10 seconds to make a coarse oat flour. Separate 1 tbsp out for topping and put the remaining 8 tbsp in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the unbleached flour, baking powder, salt and 4 tsp of sugar to the oats and mix. Then stir the wet date mixture in until combined.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray.
  6. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. 
  7. Take one piece and roll thin into a rectangle on the cookie sheet. Put 1 tsp of the filling on one half of the rectangle. Fold over the other side and pinch to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  8. Sprinkle the set aside oats on top of the bars. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Let cool and enjoy for breakfast, snack or dessert!

Note: I don't have a huge sweet tooth, so these Nutri-Grain bars aren't super sweet like the one's you would find in the store. If you would prefer sweeter bars, I would add a few tablespoons of sugar (or your preferred sweetener) to the dough and sprinkle some extra sugar on top of the filling before closing them up.
With raspberry filling
If you make any changes when you make the recipe, let me know in the comments. I'm all for making my recipes better!

Do you have any super-market goodies that you miss eating? I had almost forgotten about Nutri-Grain bars, but I'm so glad I didn't! Some of my other favorite (semi-healthy) processed foods were fruit snacks, peanut butter and crackers, nature valley granola bars and salty preztels.

What do you do on snow days? Most people go back to sleep. I had a few five minute "cat-naps" yesterday but most of the time I was on the computer, baking or watching tv.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIAW... When Studying for Exams

The New Year always brings tons of great things like new friends, new experiences, and new recipes to try!

It also brings some so-so things like a plethora of new to-do lists (how are those resolutions coming along by the way?) and some of those traditional, but questionable family gatherings that can fall either way.

And tagging along with the great and so-so comes the bad: wars, haters, junk food and things like more and more failures... (a.k.a. EXAMS!)

Yes. Today's WIAW is brought to you in a whirlwind of semester exams. Oh, the whoa of high school years! And I will apologize once again for the blurry pictures. I was in a rush this morning.

So, while I am studying for Thursday's and Friday's tests, please enjoy my brain food:

It has been 2 whole weeks since I ate my last dairy product! This number both astounds and frustrates me, because I love dairy. I really do. Greek yogurt parfaits, protein powder concoctions... Okay, I'll stop now, but I'm hoping that I can finally eat some this weekend. Yay for me! Okay, really, I'm moving on.
Breakfast sandwich with socca, egg beaters, turkey patty and handful of almonds.
You may notice something in my Breakfast, Snack and Lunch pictures that is quite similar. No, it's not my Bento box, but a graphing calculator trying to sneak-a-peek! I never go anywhere with out mine...
Baby carrots for study hall.

I think this picture is a perfect representation of being sea sick.
Today for lunch I used my Bento Box again! TL: Grilled chicken with taco seasoning, TR: apple slices, BL: salad with peppers and grilled onion, BR: unshelled, unsalted, roasted pistachios 30x.

I'm obsessed with pistachios ever since I bought a bag at Wal-Mart!
These black bean brownies are AWESOME. Recipe to come soon.

Black bean brownie with almond milk (Like a vegan Milk-and-Cookies!)
Rice/pop cakes with natural peanut butter.
After my delicious dinner below, I studied English for an hour. That means basically reading up on my notes of Anglo-Saxon traditions, Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, Everyman and then finally Shakespeare: Macbeth and Hamlet! Now onto Physics and I'll be back on later to post my numerous snacks :)

Grilled chicken, an ENTIRE can of unsalted green beans and whole wheat toast with PB.
And half an apple (reused picture).

Sugar-Free Chocolate Banana Cake with PB
Chocolate Cake Bites... for my future guest post!
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I also ate some other snacks, but they were very unexciting. 

What is your favorite thing to eat on test days?

Have you written any guest posts recently? Any advice?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


My first WIAW last week went so well that I decided I had to participate again. Everyone's comments were so kind and supportive and I got to meet tons of new blogging friends. Thanks Jenn!

That was over Christmas break however, where it was much easier to take pictures of everything I ate. The show must go on though, so I am posting my breakfast, lunch and dinner first. I will update this post later with my snack-age (the best part in my personal opinion!).

I appreciate any feedback, comments or questions (even vegan or vegetarian substitutions) regarding my blog or WIAW. Enjoy.

You may recognize this picture from yesterday because I reused it, but my breakfast looked exactly like this again today! It's just that good :)

Sugar-free chocolate pancakes topped with peanut butter and served with scrambled egg beaters.

This is what my lunch normally looks like every weekday. I love Bento boxes, especially my own personal Laptop Lunch Box! I use it all of the time because it keeps my food so organized and neat. Plus, it has special compartments with lids for fruits, veggies, etc. It even has a container for salad dressings (which is unpictured because I didn't use it today).

So, here is what was in my Bento box- TL (top left): Carrots and peanut butter, TR: Apple slices, BL (bottom left): Salad with diced chicken, onions, peppers, lettuce (of course!) and tortilla pieces, BR: plain popcorn.

Handful of whole, natural almonds:

This is what I had for dinner last night, but it was so tasty that I just had to use it for today's WIAW!

Deconstructed : grilled burger (made with lean beef, diced tomatoes, onions, peppers and mushrooms), topped with tomato sauce and I used homemade socca for the bread. Almonds on the side.

I had another burger for supper tonight, except I made this one with beef, black beans and onions. I ate this one bunless however, topped with tomato sauce. Sunflower seeds to crunch on!

Part of an apple, bitter chocolate cake made with banana and topped with peanut butter. I also had Lactose Lizzie's cookie dough cakes with applesauce and blueberries.

Honey crisp apple!
I made the dough for the apple cookie dough cakes in a tall bowl- Much less messy!

From Spoonful of Sugar Free

Second WIAW complete. Well, almost, as soon as I post my snack pictures!

You may notice from the past few days that my food has been essentially lacking in one important thing: DAIRY! For the past week whenever I eat any sort of dairy, citrus or high-fiber food it sends my stomach into a fit. It gets all bloated and starts to hurt. A few times I even started feeling nauseous and hot.

I went to the doctor a few days ago to address this problem and she then sent me to the hospital for more tests. Blood work, ultrasound, etc. All came back perfectly normal so I am going to have another ultrasound tomorrow and I've got two more doctor's appointments scheduled for this month. One if for an OBGYN, and the other is for my Dermatologist. My mom thinks my stomach problems are all resulting from the amoxil that I have been taking for my face. I stopped taking it a week ago as well and what do ya know.... My face has broken out! I guess that medicine has been doing it's job well.

I'm getting very frustrated though, because not eating dairy means I can't have any Greek yogurt or whey protein powder, protein staples in my diet. Oh well! More carbs for me :)

How are your New Years Resolutions coming along? I am definitely trying to follow my 2012 goal, which you can read more about here. I've been doing well with going sugar-free for the month, but my exercising has been slacking a little. I'm planning on making up for that tonight however, with Just Dance 3!

Do you like visiting the Doctor's? I've been going to the doctor's on a regular basis all my life for allergies and soar throats, so it doesn't really bother me. The only thing that bothers me now is that the diagnosis is taking so... long!

What do you think of my WIAW eats?