Herbal Tea & P90X Take Three

Posted by on September 12, 2011 | 12 Comments

Over the weekend I tested three recipe batches of chocolate granola for Attune (yes, yes, the recipe is coming – in October! I’ll keep you posted) and chocolate muffins for my next cookbook. This week I have several cookies on deck for testing along with round 2 on those muffins (very good, but not perfect) and two loaves of bread. Though I definitely don’t eat all of these goodies myself (no, I share the calories with my husband and neighbor), a lot of baking means a lot of tea consumption for me.

To say that I love herbal tea would be a dramatic understatement. I have at least five different types of herbal tea on hand at all times, so this weekend when I was down to just two, it was time to go shopping. Thanks to grocery sales coupled with some Yogi Tea and Tazo Tea coupons from Mambo Sprouts, I repacked my tea box with all of these …

Alisa's Herbal Tea Collection

Yogi Ginger Tea used to be a staple in my tea box, but I actually haven’t had it in months. I’m looking forwad to enjoying this spicy one again.

Yogi Vanilla Tahitian Tea is a new one to me. I like it. Mellow, notably vanilla, and lightly sweetened with stevia. Not my favorite, but not bad.

This Rooibos is a nice one, simple but bold.

Stash Mellow Moments I’m still indifferent on. I like having a nighttime tea around, and this one isn’t bad, but I think I still like Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile better.

Tazo Refresh is our favorite mint tea, and probably one of the only herbal teas that my caffeine-loving husband will drink. A nice natural pick-me-up sans caffeine.

I still need to hop on the making my own tea blend bandwagon, and also buy some teas in bulk since I do have a diffuser now.

Do you drink herbal teas? What are your favorites?

I’m off to work off some of that chocolate right NOW! After seeing that this is being released …

… I knew it was time to get my rear in gear. Today is the first day of P90X round 3 for me. The first round I did was almost three years ago (yikes!). It was amazing. I did a second round about 18 months ago that was a bit half-assed (okay, cutting myself some slack, it was more like three quarters-assed). But I’m ready to do this full force, and this time I’m trialing the Lean routine. Once I’ve conquered this again (expected end date Dec. 3), I’ll have earned the right to beg my husband for P90X-2 for Christmas.

How do you stay active in the cooler months?

(Two new recipes this week, stay tuned!)

Sugar-Free Adventures and Giveaways

Posted by on January 31, 2011 | 11 Comments

Some fun updates for you …

Sugar-Free:

I just recently finished a 10-Day Sugar-Free Challenge. Nothing fancy, just one that I did spontaneously, but the results were amazing! You can see my posts, including the challenge I took, sweet sugar-free treats, and my results at my other blog Dairy-Free & Fit.

To clarify, there is a method to my madness with more than one blog. This is food land, my kitchen, recipes that I make specifically. Dairy-Free & Fit is a conglomeration of health topics, food, fitness, and my own journal of things. The two blogs will always have different posts and updates! And yes, Go Dairy Free still keeps me busy too.

Giveaways:

ZenSoy Puddings & Soy-on-the-Go – Don’t forget, today is the last day to enter this one! Oh yeah, and that post has oodles of scrumptious dessert recipes too.

Heartland Gluten-Free Pasta – Tia’s got a cute story, review, and giveaway for you on Glugle Gluten-Free.

Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook – Yep, it has been a while since I’ve had a giveaway of my book, but Linda  is hosting one at The Gluten-Free Homemaker! She is so sweet.

Back with some ZenSoy winners (Tuesday) and a breakfast recipe (Wednesday) soon. Happy Monday!

 

Filed Under: Giveaways, Health and Fitness

Blogger Mission: Healthy Back to School Recipes

Posted by on August 16, 2010 | 68 Comments

Calling all health-minded bloggers, mom, and viewers!! The processed food industry has fired me up for several years now … ever since I started really reading food labels.

I grew up in the 80’s, with mom always looking for some convenience foods she could buy in bulk that I would eat. I just wanted whole wheat bagels and fresh fruit, but she persisted. I conceded on things like Top Ramen. I inherently tried to avoid food chemicals and over-processed garbage, but it seemed impossible, even then. Things certainly haven’t improved in our society, but after I saw this ad …

raleys ad

… I knew it was time to do something. An entire 4-page insert dedicated to Back to School, and not a wholesome food in site. Over processed garbage with “health” claims stamped all over them. This is what children everywhere will be eating as they head back to school.

I want to help fight this food polution and give kids a healthy chance with real-world solutions, so I am going to create a FREE back to school (and work) recipe e-book from the healthy blogging community. I already have some other bloggers on board for recipes – if you would like to contribute, simply leave a comment in this post, and I will contact you promptly. I’m hoping to have this ebook ready in two weeks! All recipes will be fully attributed (and linked) to whomever contributed them, so it is a great way to let people know about your blog!

Here is what I am aiming for:

  • Recipes that kids and adults like (we need good stuff for our lunchboxes too!)
  • Whole food recipes with some good nutrition in there
  • Recipes that are relatively inexpensive and not to difficult to prepare
  • Breakfast items, to-go foods, snacks, lunchbox treats, portable lunch dishes, etc.
  • Dairy-free or dairy-free friendly (so that I can promote it on my main site also, and to cater to special diets). If you cater to other special diets too, great!

Again, please leave a comment if you are interested in contributing to this project, and feel free to let me know of other bloggers who may be interested in sharing, or spread the word to them! Thank you!!

 

Filed Under: Health and Fitness

Alisa’s Completely Informal Energy Bar Awards

Posted by on August 19, 2009 | 23 Comments

I don’t have a special logo to offer, and I haven’t held a formal panel to taste test every last bar on the market … but I have tasted quite a few bars (dozens in fact) and outgrown some brands as better options have come along … so I thought I would share the ones I keep going back for again and again.

To be considered for Alisa’s Completely Informal Energy Bar Awards, said bars must be dairy-free (that is, made without milk in any whey (sorry bad pun), shape, or form – casein-free, lactose-free, etc.). They also needed to be affordable and easily accessible. I have tried some positively delicious bars, but their price tag classifies them as an occasional special dessert rather than a daily dose of energy. As a side note, I also lean toward soy-free bars, as you will see.

With that in mind, the winners are (hearing drumroll in head) …

 

In the “Most Bang for Your Buck” Category: One Organic Food Bar

Think you can’t get a hearty, organic, energy bar for under a buck? Think again! I have only tried the Raspberry Muffin Crunch flavor thus far, but this tasty item combines a soft power bar-esque texture with some granola crunch. I love the price tag and the fact that it tastes good and keeps me going for an hour or two.

One Organic Food Bar - Raspberry Muffin Crunch

 

In the “Fiber-liciousness” Category: Gnu Bars

I love fiber – and I don’t mean from a health standpoint. I just love the taste of fiberous foods … whole grains, fruits, and veggies kick the pants off of processed white stuff according to the taste buds I grew up with. And this bar lets  you know it is filled with fiber AND no sugars! The soft, chewy, and crunch textures are a conglomeration of various whole grains, fruit juices, and fruit. I love that these taste like real flavors too; no “natural flavors” on the menu. The orange-cranberry bursts with sweet orange essence; seriously.

Gnu Bar - Cinnamon Raisin

  • This bar is Vegan (Dairy-Free / Egg-Free) and Soy-Free.
  • Nutrition per 45 g bar (may vary by flavor):  140 calories, 4 g fat, 30 g carbs, 4 g protein
  • My full Gnu Bar review on Go Dairy Free.

 

In the “Best Date in Town” Category: Clif Nectar

Don’t get me wrong, I do like Larabar. But something about the spices added and overall flavors of the Clif Nectar line put it one step ahead in my book. I also love that Mambo Sprouts seems to frequently offer Clif Nectar coupons, bringing it that much closer to well-priced. I am a bit concerned that the Nectar line is cutting back, since the Clif site only shows four flavors now, but hopefully this isn’t so.

(Sorry, no pic. Those date-based bars just don’t like to cooperate with the camera)

 

And in the “Seriously Exceeded Expectations” Category: Organic Green Superfood Bars

Truth be told, my husband would pick Odwalla Bars over these bars from Amazing Grass, but he really isn’t into dried fruit bases in bars. And honestly, I can’t pinpoint why I love these bars so much, I just do. The flavor hits those perfect notes of sweet, but not too sweet, flavorful, but not overpowering, and comforting. I greatly prefer the one without the chocolate coating (it just doesn’t meld in my opinion), but I have read reviews to the contrary on other blogs. Since this one is generally the priciest of the bunch (nearing $2), I reserve it for when I want to feel the virtue of chomping on some greens without the “green” taste. Note: I am a big fan of Amazing Grass SuperFood, which is used in this bar, so my palate may be biased.

Amazing Grass Organic Green SuperFood Bars

  • This bar is Vegan (Dairy-Free / Egg-Free), Soy-Free (chocolate one has soy lecithin), and Gluten-Free.
  • Nutrition per 60 g bar (may vary by flavor):  230 calories, 8 g fat, 36 g carbs, 5 g protein
  • My full SuperFood review on Go Dairy Free.
  •  

    Finding the Best Price:

    In my opinion, there is no magical one way to find a great deal on “bars.” Rather I scour a few options and when the deal looks hot, I strike and load up. These are the places I always look:

    • Local weekly / monthly grocery ads (available online too)
    • Coupons (in the paper, in stores, and online)
    • Company Website (they often offer deals direct to consumers)
    • Amazon Deals (change each month, great place for bars)

     

    Three questions for you:

    What are your favorite bars? Do we share some common tastes, or did I miss a gem?

    Why do the calorie count and nutrient grams never calculate out properly on bars? When I multiply out the protein (4 calories per gram), carbs (4 calories per gram), and fat (9 calories per gram) listed on bars to calculate calories, they rarely match the calories listed on the bars! More of a curiosity really.

    Dairy-free and soy-free protein bars are hard to come by (the above are what I classify as “energy” or “snack” bars) … so, I make my own at home. Would you be interested in my recipe for homemade dairy-free, soy-free protein bars?

    Whole Life Challenge ~ Results & Passing the Torch …

    Posted by on June 6, 2009 | 10 Comments

    Two weeks ago I pledged to join in on the Whole Life Challenge, created by Maggie at Say Yes to Salad. And, I am happy to say, that while I didn’t do a daily blog of events, it was quite successful. Here were my results:

    wholelifechallenge

    • Drink More Water – Not only do I have trouble remembering to drink an adequate amount of water, but I also live in a dry climate and exercise regularly, exacerbating the problem. In the winter, I at least drink a lot of herbal tea to fill in the gaps, but with the current hot weather I am constantly dehydrated. I did manage my first baby step – starting each day with a big glass of water. On days when I remembered to add some lemon/lime to the water, I drank more … more appealing I guess … so I need to make that more of a habit. I am also going to work on that trick of filling up a bottle a few times a day and having it on my desk as a next step. 
    • Get Walking – For the past few months, exercise has not been a problem. My husband and I have been doing an hour+ a day of cardio and/or strength training … but, I seem to be in all or nothing mode. Once I get beind my computer, I forget to even get up for hours on end. I decided to make a conscious effort to get moving more throughout the day on top of our workouts. Most days (all but two actually) we added a walk of sorts into our daily routine, but beyond this I worked very hard to get up at least once an hour and take care of a chore that didn’t involve sitting. This is something I plan to keep working on!
    • Adventure New Meals – I often have trouble relaxing and just creating in the kitchen. I am by nature a baker (love measurements) not a cook (throw what together?). So I tried to let go of my preconceived notions about my kitchen skills and just have some fun with it. I was definitely happy with the results, and so was my hungry husband. I came up with some new recipes that I will be posting about soon, including Mexican Meatballs in Romaine Boats, Orange-Sesame Dressing / Salad, Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers, and Slightly Spicy Puttanesque-a. I also made a fantastic Chicken and Broccoli stir-fry (if I do say so myself!) that just needs a few tweaks to reach perfection (the sauce was a bit runny), and I trialed out three healthy bar recipes from the new Enjoy Life Cookbook. I will post one of my variations soon. So I did surprisingly well in this category!
    • Soak Up Some Vitamin D – Referencing the above walking comments, I have trouble remembering to get out and soak up some rays before it is too late. This is the one challenge I definitely failed on. The only days I got Vitamin D were the days we went outdoors for those walks, otherwise, I completely forgot to get outside. I guess accomplishing too many goals at once can be overwhelming, but this one is going at the top of my list for improvement! After all, how hard can it be to get just 30 minutes a day?
    • Add Green to My Morning Smoothie – The funny thing is, I have added spinach to my blueberry smoothies for years. You really can’t taste it. But whenever I wasn’t making a blueberry or chocolate smoothie, I omitted it, as the green color is really what turned me off. I know, I know, silly hang-up. So I got over my fear with some vibrant green smoothies and some muddy looking ones too (actually tasted the best!). They didn’t look great, but they were still of course delicious! The one problem is, I still stick with spinach; I need to venture kale and other nutrient rich greens. Oh, I did use Amazing Grass (berry-flavor) for some of my green smoothies (especially when I was out of spinach), which really is amazing!

    Thanks Maggie for the Excellent Challenge! I am going to keep it up with the above challenges rather than adding in new ones so soon, as I think I need to continue with these to really make them a part of my life.

    I encourage you all to join the Whole Life Challenge too! I would love to hear some things you are hoping to improve on, so please do tell …

    amazinggrasssmoothie

    Tags:  

    Filed Under: Health and Fitness

    Taking the Whole Life Challenge

    Posted by on May 22, 2009 | 12 Comments

    Maggie at Say Yes to Salad has proposed a Whole Life Challenge, an opportunity to add one healthy new habit into your lifestyle each day. I wasn’t sure if she meant pick a different one each day, or just pick one of them and do it each day … so I will improvise. Since I might be cheating a bit with a few of her items (I already stick to organic greens, for example), I have built on her suggestions to create a customized “Challenge” list.

    • Drink More Water – Start each day with a nice big glass of filtered water with lemon or lime. There is no better way to start the day, but I always forget.
    • Get Walking – Add 20 minutes of walking to my exercise routine. This could be around the neighborhood, treadmill-style if the heat is overwhelming, or simply doing some stairs!
    • Adventure New Meals – Try at least 1 *new* meal recipe each week – can be for lunch or dinner. Hmm, I may even shoot for 2!
    • Soak Up Some Vitamin D – Get at least 20 minutes of unadulterated sunshine per day.
    • Add Green to My Morning Smoothie – Eeek, green, my biggest beverage fear. I can’t do the green oats, but I will go for the morning shake.

    No worries, I won’t bore you all with my daily log, but will let you know the results. I think this idea is fantastic. Just picking one thing a day takes away the overwhelming nature, but allows you to make real, lasting strides. I encourage you to join Maggie’s challenge too! Use her list, my list, or make your own choices toward a healthier lifestyle and try to do just one thing per day!

    wholelifechallenge

    For those of you who read this post about getting healthy, I shall reward you with some giveaway links and a note that I have some great recipes coming up on the blog very soon, and a fantastic giveaway starting on Tuesday that you won’t want to miss. Here are some fun bloggie giveaways going on right now …

    Have a fun Memorial Day Weekend!

     

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