Category Archives: Snacks

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Earlier this week I attended a conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee for my job.  This was very exciting to me for several reasons:  I don’t get to travel much for my job, I had never been to Chattanooga, I got to fly! (I haven’t flown in 12 years) and my friend Sandra lives there now.

Monday night I was able to hang out with my friend Sandra.  She used to live in Charlotte and now she is getting her Masters at the University of Tennessee.  I walked a mile from my hotel to meet her at The Yellow Deli for dinner.

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The Yellow Deli opened in the 70’s and they now have a few other restaurants in the states, as well as one in Canada.  This place is so adorable and the food was really fresh.  They serve salads, sandwiches on homemade bread, homemade desserts, a variety of juice, mate, natural sodas, and they even have root beer on tap.

Sandra and I both had the Yellow Submarine.

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The spread of the week was addicting.  I’m not sure what it was, but it tasted like hummus blended with pesto.

The inside is really cute too.  It looks like a big tree house.

On the bottom of our ticket, it said “We serve the fruit of the spirit…ask us how.”  According to their website, they serve God.  Sandra says the rumor is that they are a cult, but everyone keeps coming back because the food is good!

After dinner, we grabbed a cupcake from Chattanooga Cupcakes.

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Sandra had the red velvet and I had the cinnamon.  Check out the load of icing on these babies!!

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That was seriously enough icing for four cupcakes at least.  The cupcakes were tasty, but needless to say, we did not eat all of the icing.

After those sugar bombs, we walked around downtown towards the Tennessee River.

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Sandra showed me a glass bridge, which I planned to walk across, but then chickened out.  Despite being excited to fly on a plane, I could not do the bridge….I think because the sides were open.  I realize that sounds crazy.

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While walking around downtown, I saw a Moon Pie store and suddenly the random Moon Pie I received in my conference bag earlier made sense.

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According to moonpie.com, The Moon Pie was born in 1917 by the Chattanooga Bakery.  Their goal was to make a filling snack for coal miners.  They asked how big and one of the miners held his hand up to the moon and said “about that big”.  And so the moon pie was born.

Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of the Moon Pie, but I ate the one in my bag.

Are you a Moon Pie fan?

P.S.  All photos were from my iphone.

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Weekdays Made Easy

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The freezer is a wonderful invention.  It makes my weekdays a whole lot easier.  I rarely have time to “assemble” my lunch before work, and I would rather not go out to eat because it takes up too much time, money, and calories.  I make it easy on myself by taking one day on the weekend or a weeknight to prepare most of my meals for the work-week.

I did some major cooking and baking on MLK Day since I had the day off from work!  I decided to make winter veggie burritos and used Jenna’s method for slow cooker black beans.

 Winter Veggie Burritos

  • black beans (canned or slow cooker style)
  • cheese
  • roasted sweet potatoes
  • steamed kale
  • super sweet corn
  • salsa

Roll all of the ingredients up in a tortilla.  During the summer I use zucchini and yellow squash in place of the sweet potatoes and kale.

Once you’re done rolling, you can wrap them individually in foil and place them in a bag in the freezer.

I ran out of tortillas, so I used brown rice instead.  Brown rice freezes nicely; you just cook it, let it cool, and then it’s ready to go in the freezer.

You can take them out the night before to thaw, or you can take it out in the morning and put it in an insulated lunch bag.  Mine is still frozen 4 hours later, without refrigeration.  It usually takes about 3-4 minutes to warm in the microwave.

Lunch is not the only thing you can prepare ahead of time.  I made blueberry muffins for my breakfast all last week.  The recipe comes from The Cupcake Calendar that my sister-in-law gave me (Thanks Ellen!).  It’s a neat little daily calendar that has a cupcake/muffin recipe for everyday.

I left six out for Vee and I to eat over the next couple of days and wrapped the rest individually in foil and put them in the freezer.  Just unwrap and nuke the muffin for 30-45 seconds in the microwave and you’re good to go.

Snacks can be frozen too!  I made hummus and put it in small freezer safe containers that hold about two servings each.  You can put the container in the fridge overnight to thaw.  Assuming that you freeze it right away, it will last two days in the fridge.

All in the name of time. Amen.

Do you any have meal-time saving tips?

Black Salt Caramel Bar Taste Test

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The contenders are <insert drum roll please> Vosges versus Trader Joe’s.You may know Vosges for their more unusual flavors, such as the Black Pearl Exotic Candy Bar, which is Ginger + wasabi + black sesame seeds + 55% dark chocolate.  No, I haven’t tried that one yet.

And I’m sure most people are familiar with Trader Joe’s, although there are few and far between in some places.

Both are 70% cacao with caramel and black sea salt, basically the same thing.  I paid $6.99 for the Vosges and $1.99 for the Trader Joe’s.  They taste pretty much exactly the same except for one thing.

Notice the bits of salt on the back of the Trader Joe’s chocolate on the right.  That my friends, makes all the difference.  I love the punch and crunch that it gives.  The Vosges is smooth all the way through, which isn’t a bad thing.  I’m just saying the bits of salt give more contrast to the chocolate and caramel.

 I’ve also heard that Trader Joe’s will get bigger brand names to make items for them, so that they can sell those items under the Trader Joe’s brand name.  And of course, the bigger brand names make money off of it too.  This article better explains what I just said.

Maybe the Trader Joe’s salted caramel bar is really a Vosges bar, with a few sprinkles of salt to throw the consumer off!!

Hmmmm……

My advice is to save your money and buy the Trader Joe’s version.

Grab and Go

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You know the drill.  Go to bed late, wake up late, rush to get ready.  Shower, smear on some makeup – no time for hair and then shiiiiit, you realize you don’t even have time to fix yourself lunch to take to work.  I hate when that happens because usually that means you don’t have time for breakfast either, and you end up wasting money on food that you either really don’t want or that is bad for you.  Oh, or is that just me?

Well, I’m here to save myself and maybe a few others from this cycle.  First, it’s always best to fix your lunch the night before.  I think we already know this, but it’s actually doing it that’s the hard part.  I’m still working on this. 🙂

I would however, like to share a few grab-and-go food items that might help us save some time when rushing out the door.

First is, Sabra Hummus Singles.  They are 2 oz. individual servings of hummus that are great for snacking or adding as part of your lunch.  I usually dip carrots, broccoli, and bell pepper in them.  I found these by the carrots and salad mixes.

The only thing I don’t like about it, is that I wish it was half of this size. They say a serving size is 1 oz., so one cup is actually 2 servings.  One cup is 170 calories.

Next, is the LARABAR Mini.  I eat these for snacks, but I love them because they are half the size of a regular LARABAR and only 100 calories each.  The regular size was always a bit more than I wanted to eat at one time for a snack anyway, so the minis are perfect.  I found these at Target.

And finally, I want to share Wholly Guacamole snack packs with you.  I love these so much!  These are probably the most convenient of them all.  I like to make a salad with romaine, corn, black beans, and cheese.  Then I use the guacamole pack as the dressing. Each pack is also 100 calories.

Of course you can cut an avocado and save it yourself, but it takes time, when there is no time.  Avocados tend to be hard to save because air exposure will turn them brown.  You can avoid this by squeezing lime or lemon juice on it.  Then put it in a container and put plastic wrap directly on top and surrounding it, so there is no air in between the lid and the avocado, then put the lid on.  This works for guacamole too.

Charlie says to be sure to take the time to stop and smell the guacamole.

Mail Time!

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Lookie what I got!

My future sister-in-law, Ellen, and her husband, Chuck, were kind enough to send me some Cookie Dough Larabars and a Carrot Cake Larabar after reading my post “On With the Toe Shoes.” Thanks guys!!  They are so much fun to hang out with, and I look forward to their Christmas cards each year.

Chuck is a music guru and loves to run and bike.  He is very easy-going and awesome at karaoke, as he used to be in a band in the 80’s.  Ellen is a fitness instructor.  She teaches cycle, boot camp, total conditioning, core conditioning, bodyworks, and barbell strength. You can take her classes at LifeTime Fitness Johns Creek, and LA Fitness East Cobb, and LA Fitness Holcomb Bridge in Atlanta.  You may have to call to find out which times she is teaching.

She will totally kick your booty!  You will love her!

Prepare to SWEAT

After you take Ellen’s class (and before you pass out) eat a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabar.

It was love at first bite.

OM NOM NOM

It is one of my favorites now.  Ingredients are cashews, dates, chocolate chips and salt.  It is a lot sweeter than the other Larabars.  So if you have a craving for a candy bar, eat this instead.  Trust me, you won’t regret it and you won’t miss the candy bar.

On with the Toe Shoes

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V and I went hiking at Crowders Mountain and I got to test out my Vibrams!

I have the KSO which means keeps stuff out!  It did indeed keep stuff out.  They are super comfy and it really feels like you are barefoot with a bit of protection on the bottom, of course.  I could also feel more of my muscles working to stabilize my balance.  It was very liberating to wear these, but it may have been a mistake…..

We took the Pinnacle Trail which was labeled strenuous.  It started off as a piece of cake.  V and I were like “really, this is child’s play!”

We stopped to goof off at some rocks.

I felt really comfortable climbing rocks in my Vibrams.  We also had to climb over rocks to get to the summit, but that’s later.

We trekked on following the orange circles….

Don't forget water!

The Vibrams allowed me to experience all the different textures this trail had to offer.  You can feel the rocks, but they have a soft touch.  The dirt you see above felt good to my feet and we came across parts that had a lot of little pebbles, which felt kind of like a mini-massage.  We also walked across rocky paths like this one.

After a while, things got steep quick.

We were panting and eating our previous words….if only it was actually cake that we were eating.

Eventually we made it to the top with some amazing views.  The highest point in Gaston County at 1,705 feet.

V called out to the birds.

Everything from here was literally downhill.  My feet were killing me at this point from walking over rocky surfaces and the bottom of my feet felt like they had been bruised, which is an odd thing to say, but that is the only way I can describe it.

Did I listen to the pamphlet that came with shoes that states that you should get used to your shoes first before going long distances all at one time?

NO, I didn’t.

We only hiked 3.4 miles.  My feet were screaming BLOODY MURDER by the time we made it back to the car.  My feet weren’t actually bleeding, just really sore.

Back in the car with some much-needed elevation for my feet and a snack for my belly.

These are some of my favorite snacks:  Coconut Water with a splash of Passion Fruit, PB Chocolate Chip Larabar, and the new Cliff Fruit and Nut bar (apple-cinn).  I chose the Coconut Water because I wasn’t that hungry at the moment.

I love the Coconut Water because it is a natural source of electrolytes and potassium.  Unlike coconut milk that is high in fat, coconut water has no fat because it comes from the young green coconut before coconut meat forms (source).

I love the Larabars because of the short ingredient list made with real food and they taste amazing.  I am dying to try the Cookie Dough Larabar.  I haven’t been able to find it in any stores around here.

I love the Cliff Fruit and Nut bars because they taste good too, obviously, but 70%t of their ingredients are organic and the ingredient list is relatively short and recognizable.  I’m not a big fan of their other bars though because they just don’t taste that great to me.

So there you go! Go get some nutritious and filling snacks and remember – take it easy in those Vibrams.

Anyone have any experiences with hiking in their Vibrams?