2.14.2014

Post-Workout Hydration & Cocozia Coconut Water

DON'T FORGET to ENTER TO WIN a COOKBOOK from Peanut Butter & Co. HERE and free product coupons from HAIL MERRY HERE

Welcome to FITNESS FRIDAY! Today we are going to talk about a drink that is great for post-workout hydration, and WAY better for you than any sports drink... coconut water!

Coconut water has always been considered a rather "hippie" thing to drink, but recently it has been adopted by fitness gurus and athletes and the best drink for natural muscle repair after a workout. An 8 ounce serving of coconut water has 470mg of potassium (for comparison, a banana has 422mg of potassium) and 15 times more potassium than your typical sports drink. All of this potassium helps to maintain fluid balance in your body and ease possible muscle pain post-workout. 

Click HERE for more facts about coconut water. 

Another great thing is that coconut water is low in calories, which makes it great for mixing in fruit juices if you don't like the flavor of coconut water on its own. I don't love the flavor by itself, so I mix mine into other juices. 

Another great way to use coconut water is to make coconut water ice cubes! There are perfect for adding an extra health blast to orange juice, or for blending in a smoothie or shake. Or, why not make a healthy pina colada using coconut water?!

I was recently contacted by Cocozia and asked to review their coconut water. Cocozia is 100% organic and all natural.


I was sent one case (25 bottles) of the original Cocozia. As you can see from the picture above, they have a variety of other flavors as well - I'm interested to try the coffee & chocolate  varieties!

As mentioned before, I don't love coconut water. However, this was one of the best coconut waters I have tried yet. It tastes like it came straight from a fresh coconut and provides an authentic coconut flavor. I mixed mine in orange juice - it was like taking a post-workout recovery trip to the islands!

If you love coconut water, I would recommend trying this next time you grab a glass. To find out where you can buy some Cocozia in your area, check out the Cocozia website.

2.12.2014

GIVEAWAY: Dark Chocolate Dreams COOKBOOK!

Hey friends! Today we have something extra special for you! 

I was recently contacted by Adam from Peanut Butter & Co. about joining their Yum Squad. Um, absolutely, I want to join the Yum Squad! I have been fans of PB & Co. for a LONG time, and they make my all time favorite peanut butter - White Chocolate Wonderful! It tastes like a spoonful of heaven (or nutter butters). 

As a part of the Yum Squad, I was sent a copy of their new cookbook, 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dreams, and a 28oz jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter to test recipes from the book. Pretty sweet (literally).
I got cooking right away, and made three recipes from the book. I made the pear tart, cake pops, and trail mix bars. I apologize in advance - I was a little pressed for time when I took the pictures!

Cake pops
Pear Tart
Trail Mix Bars - with extra PB drizzled on top!
All of the recipes were successful and very delicious! I have been eating a lot of the trail mix bars for breakfast recently, and the pear tart resembled a fudgy brownie with a crust. 

One lucky person has the chance to win a copy of the cookbook AND a 28 oz. jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter - just like the package I received!  Here's how to win. Each entry is a SEPARATE entry, so leave a SEPARATE comment below for each entry! 

PB & CO. COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY

WAYS TO WIN
1. Tweet about this giveaway, and tag both @passingdaisies and @PeanutButterCo.
2. Pin this post on Pinterest (just mouse over an image and click the "Pin It" button!).
3. Follow Passing Daisies on Google Friend Connect or subscribe to our email list (new subscribers only!)
4. Comment below and tell me what flavor of PB & Co. peanut butter you'd want to try.

Giveaway ends FEBRUARY 27TH at 530PM. GET ENTERING! :)

1.28.2014

Setting Healthy New Years Resolutions

Hey friends! Happy 2014!

I have some exciting news for you! 

FIRST - I'm being interviewed on The Lifestyle Accountability Show & podcast! Pretty cool. I'm doing the interview on Monday night, and it will go live on FEBRUARY 7TH... so PLEASE check it out when it's posted! You can get it on iTunes as well. I will be talking about healthy living and Passing Daisies!

SECOND - I've decided to participate in a few more runs in Cincinnati. One is the Mini Heart Marathon 5k [March], and the others are the Flying Pig Marathon 10k [May] and The Color Run [August]. This is big for me because 1) I'm not a very good runner 2) one of them is a 10K and I've never done a 10k...I will probably walk most of it, but it's not until May and 3) I haven't worked out in a long time thanks to being unable to afford a gym membership. My LA Fitness account has been frozen for a long time, BUT I'm about to unfreeze it and get back in the game. Thanks to now having a job as a full time nanny (and loving it), I can actually afford some stuff! I'm hoping to move out soon. What a big lifestyle change THAT will be. 

THIRD - I'm happy to announce that I'm writing a book! I hope to finish it by the end of year, and I plan to work on it while the girls I nanny are napping. The working title is "Just Say Yes" and it will be about how saying YES to change can completely change your heart and mind. Sound like something you wanna read? I sure hope so because I'd love for you to buy a copy when it comes out someday :)


The main reason I wanted to write this post was to share four tips for setting healthy New Years resolutions, if you haven't set some yet. It can be hard to set realistic resolutions that you can actually keep, but I'm going to try my best to share what I'm doing with you.

TIP #1: Be Realistic & Specific
I can't stress enough how important it is to BE REALISTIC and VERY specific when setting your resolutions! Too many people get discouraged because they set goals that are too general, like "lose weight" or "give up sugar" or "eat healthy." Better resolutions would be things like "Eat three fruits or vegetables daily" and "Lose 1-2 pounds a week." The more specific the better.

It's also important to be realistic. Can you honestly "give up sugar?" Sugar is in everything! A better resolution would be to "eat dessert once a week"  or "avoid all refined sugar one day a week."

Those above examples are very specific and are easy to break down into steps, which leads me to tip #2...

TIP #2: Break Your Resolutions Into Parts
It's helpful to break your resolutions down into ACTION STEPS so you can more easily keep your resolutions. For example, if your resolution is to "lose 10 pounds," some action steps could look like:
Step 1: Go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays before work for 30 minutes
Step 2: Eat fruit for breakfast
Step 3: Eat sweets one day a week

Make sense?

TIP #3: Keep Them Visible
It's also helpful to write down your resolutions and put them in a place where you can see them on a regular basis. If they are out of sight, they will most likely be out of mind and you will forget what you even resolved to do. 

TIP #4: Don't Get Discouraged
Everyone falls off the wagon sometimes. And that's totally okay and normal. Just try not to get discouraged and give up! It is never too late to start again and keep going on your journey!

Well, that's all I've got for you for now. Stay tuned for some pretty awesome things, like more guest blogs, book reviews, & product reviews. <3

1.09.2014

Tasty Tofu: 5 Yummy Ways to Include More Tofu Into Your Diet

Hey guys! Below is a guest post for you from Virginia Cunningham, all about the different ways you can ease tofu into your diet! I think she's got some pretty nifty ideas, so check it out!


When many think of tofu, they may not see it as having much personality, but it's bland appearance makes it deceptive!

Pressed curd extracted from ground soy beans, tofu has an almost endless variety of applications. It's high in protein -- more than 2 grams per ounce -- for some varieties, and contains an abundance of healthy fats. Besides the more common dishes tofu can be used in, like stir fry, it can be used in salad dressings, tacos and quesadillas, pesto, curry, marinade, desserts, smoothies and so much more! It's also an effective thickening agent, which makes it a great substitute for cream, eggs and cheese.

{Wanna learn a cool way to press tofu? Click here to see the pressed tofu I made!}

Here are some unique and simple ways to incorporate tofu into your diet:

Pumpkin Tofu Curry
I absolutely love pumpkin season and this recipe is delicious! To make this dish, saute an onion in olive oil then add 2 cups of vegetable broth, a can of coconut milk, a can of pumpkin (15 ounces), 2 tsps of both cumin and curry and pepper to taste.

Afterwards, mix up the cubed, sauteed tofu and enjoy. You can also add carrots and potatoes or any other veggie you’d like and serve over rice. Mmm delicious! This looks gorgeous, and really yummy, especially presented in an empty pumpkin shell, and it's also amazingly simple.  

Tofu Quesadillas
 No matter what time of the day it is, a warm quesadilla is a meal or snack I always crave. To make this, marinate strips of tofu for several hours (the marinade can be anything you like; I prefer to use olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, pepper and a splash of soy sauce), then broil (flipping once) until the edges are crispy. Throw them into a tortilla and add your favorite cheese, heated black beans (add some cumin and hot sauce to heat things up), then fold it all up and heat in an unoiled frying pan until the tortilla gets crispy and the cheese is melted! Absolutely delicious, and loaded with protein and fiber!  

As an alternative to marinating strips of tofu, try chopping it up into tiny tiny pieces, then saute at high temperature with onions, garlic and other spices. The consistency will end up resembling taco meat, which works incredibly well in a quesadilla or burrito.

Marinade
 Another one of my favorite ways to add tofu into my diet is to use extra firm tofu. Once you have pressed all of the water out, you can then make your own marinade with fresh pressed ginger and garlic, soy sauce, and a splash of spicy szechuan sauce. An easy way is to just pan fry it with veggies and sometimes veggie dumplings (I like the ones from Trader Joes... but will learn to make my own someday).

Tofu Fingers 
(similar to chicken fingers)
 For this snack, I use tofu that's been frozen. Once it’s thawed, slice it into triangles, rectangles or whatever shape you prefer. Next I dip them in egg, cover them with bread crumbs, cumin, garlic and onion powder, or whatever flavor I'm in the mood for, then bake them in the oven until the edges turn into a nice brown.

They taste great dipped in barbeque or honey mustard sauce or whatever you prefer. They have the texture of chicken fingers and are extremely tasty!

Salad Dressing
 This is one of the easiest ways I've found to use tofu. Purée silken tofu with basil and a clove of garlic, then drizzle on your salad and you're done!

The examples used above are great ways to incorporate this protein packed food into your diet. It absorbs the flavors of the ingredients it’s paired with, and works in a variety of cooking methods. It's amazingly versatile and adaptable nature makes it one of my favorite foods!

Virginia Cunningham is a health enthusiast and mother of three living in Southern California. As a health writer, and in collaboration with NorthWest, she loves being able to share recipes, fitness tips and educate others about their personal wellness. 


12.30.2013

Snow Ice Cream

Have you ever heard of snow ice cream? 

Probably not. It's not a common sweet treat! But I will tell you, it's delicious. 

Snow ice cream is exactly what it sounds like - freshly fallen snow that you turn into "ice cream" by adding milk, sugar, and vanilla. I've been making this stuff since I was a little kid, and I will probably make it for many years to come! 

I used to make it a lot with the boy who lived next door. Actually, we did a lot of fun, random things together. For example, we often took a boxed cake mix and threw in whatever we wanted - whipped cream, cherries, sprinkles, chocolate, hot fudge, etc. - then we mixed it up and baked it in the oven, waiting anxiously to see how it would turn out. We would race to see who could finish their concoction first. I think the boys usually won...

Anyways, snow ice cream is DELICIOUS, so please try it and let me know! I didn't exactly measure the snow, so the numbers below are a rough estimate. Feel free to add more or less of something to taste. 

Snow Ice Cream
Roughly 4 cups of snow
8 tablespoons milk
2 - 4 tablespoon sugar
2 t. vanilla

You don't need much instruction - just throw it all in a large metal bowl and mix together! The end result should be a bit icy and creamy and sugary. Yum. Try to use a metal bowl if you can - it keeps the snow colder, longer! If you use an ice cream scoop, you should be able to scoop it like ice cream. Top with sprinkles and you have an easy, delicious treat! 

What's your favorite childhood food?