Queen Bey Likes Popcorn 

I used to always be the party host in high school, but after coming to college I let go of that role. I loved it, but I can’t say it was always easy. The host has to plan, coordinate, invite, which is all fun, but also comes with a lot of responsibility! If you forget someone, you hurt their feelings. If you forget chips, the guac gets lonely. If you’ve ever hosted, I’m sure you understand! I’m a host of imperfection, and you see past all that (Beyoncé, 2006).

Now this imperfection bothers me less so when one of my good friends at college and I came up with a brilliant party idea, I knew it was time to bring back my host identity. And the planning for a baby shower for Beyoncé’s newly announced pregnancy began. We made sure to plan a few things ahead of time, but a lot of it was kept very low key. We divided the tasks and she generously offered her apartment for the venue. It could not have been easier or more fun!

Our guests were welcomed starting at the front door:

Obviously we also had plenty of (spiked) Lemonade

Blue(berry) Ivy Lemonade


When I learned from an article that Beyoncé LOVES popcorn, I knew that had to be on the party menu. Luckily, Live Love Pop was happy to provide some delicious popcorn to fuel our night of Beyoncé. Our snacks in formation:

 

Live. Love. Yoncé.

A bowl of my favorite salt and vinegar flavor, which was followed by getting down on the dance floor…

Get it poppin’

 

I love sharing my love of Live Love Pop–thank you!

And an even bigger thank you to my first college friend and fellow Beyoncé lover, Naomi:

“Freakum dress out my closet, Yoncé filling out this skirt I look damn good, I ain’t lost it.” (Beyoncé, 2013)


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Are you always the host? What’s your favorite party theme?

Chocolate Berry Milkshake (recipe+review)

A recipe that includes the word “milkshake” in the title sets a high bar, but I assure you this will not disappoint!


This is Designer Protein’s newest line of protein, “Native Whey.” This protein is cold filtered from non-GMO, grass-fed milk that has no antibiotics or artificial growth hormones. A lot of whey is a result of the leftover product of cheese-making, but native whey is different and processed at lower temperatures and is not exposed to ingredients involved in the cheese-making process. Native whey also more leucine, a crucial branched chain amino acid, and glutamine that most whey proteins. Leucine is an essential amino acid shown to help in muscle protein synthesis (aka turning that hard work from exercising into muscle) .

Beyond the nutrition, the powder tastes amazing. My mom, who hates the taste of stevia usually, really likes the flavor! That’s a win in my book.  Without further ado, here is the recipe:


Ingredients:
2 cups almond milk or water
1 cup frozen berries
1 scoop Designer Protein Vanilla Milkshake Native Whey
1 tbsp NuNaturals Cocoa Powder 

Combine all ingredients in high powered blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy! For a thicker, more decadent shake, add another tablespoon of cocoa powder. A note on the cocoa powder: NuNaturals is one of my favorites and using a Dutch-processed cocoa is a must to get the same rich flavor!

Use code HANNAH20 for 20% off your order from Designer Protein!

Wake Shake Cinnamon Bun Cookies

I recently got the chance to try Super Body Breakthrough Wake Shake (I got cinnamon bun and caramel latte flavors)! Now I love a good protein shake or smoothie bowl, but I was dying to turn the amazing cinnamon bun flavor into a baked good form. I love the shake mix; it is not the typical “protein shake.” The mix provides a great balance of fats, protein, and fiber…we do need more than just protein (check out the linked article to learn more).

I decided to try and make cookies and they turned out perfectly! I love throwing ingredients together and seeing what comes out of the oven. These cookies have the perfect buttery flavor from the grass-fed butter in the Wake Shake mix (yay healthy fats) and the collagen blend is perfect for healthy hair, skin, and nails.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 scoop cinnamon bun Wake Shake 
  2. 1/2 cup NuNaturals Oat fiber (can sub in oat flour)
  3. 1 egg (or 3 tbsp egg whites)
  4. 3-4tsp water
  5. Dash of NuNaturals stevia
  6. 3/4 tsp baking powder
  7. Cinnamon to taste


First, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all dry ingredients and stir until well mixed. Add in wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Drop dough by the tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet. Place in oven for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the cookies in for 10 more minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch. Enjoy!


These cookies are delicious dipped in peanut butter–don’t blame me if you can’t stop dunking! Use discount code “CH10” for 10% off anything from Super Body Breakthrough!

I haven’t tried the recipe with other mixes, but let me know if you do. I would recommend using a shake blend with a higher fat content to get a similar texture. I hope you enjoy!

Why Plant-Based?

I’ve made a greater effort to choose plant-based options over the past few months. While everyone is different, I wanted to share a few reasons why I’ve made the slight shift. I am definitely still eating plenty of animal products, but here are some of the main reasons I’m opting for more plant-based options:

  1. It’s better for the planet. Plant-based options have a smaller carbon-footprint; these foods often require less transportation and have fewer environmental side effects (decreased carbon emissions, decreased methane gas–ehem, cows). sky-earth-galaxy-universe
  2. Animals are cute (ethics). While some people think eating animals is entirely unethical, I do not personally fall into that camp. I take more issue with eating animals and byproducts of animals that have been treated poorly. Choosing cruelty-free, local, grass-fed options makes a huge difference, but often those options are more difficult to come by and are more expensive.7479512636_b19884cac6_b
  3. Nutrition. There is a ton of evidence that eating a plant-based diet has numerous positive effects on health. The China Study, one of the few large-scale, reputable nutrition studies, was conducted by Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine. The study found individuals with a plant-based diet where most protein comes from plant sources have decreased cancer rates and lower prevalence of bone fracture, among other health benefits. If you’re curious, read more here.Nutrition-pyramid
  4. It’s not all or nothing. I think this is a huge misconception in our world of extremes. Everyone thinks that you must choose a label and stick with it, but I prefer to stay flexible, eat what I want, and eat to feel good. There is no need to be a strict vegetarian or vegan, but trying to make mindful choices and choose plant-based options a little more often can add up to big benefits.764px-Balanced_scale_of_Justice.svg_
  5. I love Nuzest protein powderThis is a simple one…I fell in love with Nuzest protein powder when I first tried it. This is a super simple pea protein with very few added ingredients and it tastes great. Look out for recipes using this powder coming to the blog soon!Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 5.31.29 PM

Pancakes, Friendship, and Positive Framing

I recently got a shipment of delicious pancake mix from Silver Fern Brand. I love any excuse for a get together with friends, so I decided to coordinate a pancake-thesis writing party! I am currently a senior in college and many of my friends and I are in the midst of writing honors theses, which means we often feel stressed about the writing process and the long-term nature of our projects. Instead of dreading a day of research and writing, I proposed the idea of turning it into a fun gathering–I positively framed the situation!

 

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Now the pancakes certainly helped, but positive framing is a tool that can come in handy for anything you might be dreading or lacking motivation to do. Life is full of things we don’t want to do…taxes, homework, taking out the trash…but it’s all about the mindset we have.

My friends and I chatted, enjoyed making the pancakes together, and each ate a delicious chocolate-chip studded stack, and by that point we did not mind getting down to business to work on our papers.

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Look at that maple syrup drizzle…

I also discovered a new favorite maple syrup….Nature’s Hollow sugar free maple syrup is so good! It was a perfect topping that didn’t lead to a horrendous sugar crash. I highly recommend this over traditional maple syrup if you’re wary of your sugar intake, which we all should be–check out this article for more info.

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I think it’s safe to say our party was a major success–many pancakes eaten, many paragraphs written!


If you want some Silver Fern pancake mix, click the link to order: http://fmtc.co/3b0bc56a?sid=98.677

If you’re interested in learning more about decreasing your sugar intake and improving gut health, check out Silver Fern’s Elevated Plan: http://fmtc.co/089b5be6?sid=98.677


Next time there’s a task you’re dreading, try positive framing! What’s something you hate and how do you motivate yourself to do it?

***

Gluten-Free Ginger Pear Bread

I absolutely love a baking challenge. So for this recipe, I noticed we had a ton of Harry and David Christmas season pears sitting around going soft. This got the cogs turning in my head. Plus, I just won a giveaway hosted by Kate and NuNaturals that included a new-to-me flour–organic green banana flour. I also had some leftover “Unpumpkin Pie Spice” from  Raw Spice Bar. If you’re curious, Raw Spice Bar is a spice subscription box that delivers freshly ground spices to your door every month–the mixes have been so much fun to use, plus you can taste the difference when you compare to stale, store-bought spices.

All of the ingredients on hand sounded like a great match so I gave it a shot and was thrilled by the results! A soft, tasty loaf that you would never expect is gluten-free and low in sugar.

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Ingredients:

1/4 c pumpkin
3/4 c nunaturals banana flour
2 eggs
2 medium pears, finely chopped
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
1/4 c packed brown sugar blend
Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Combine wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
3) In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated.
4) Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and mix until batter is smooth.
5) Pour batter into a greased and floured loaf pan.
6) Bake for 28 minutes or until bread feels firm to the touch
7) Let cool for 10 minutes in pan then flip the bread out onto a cooling rack.
8) Enjoy! This would taste delicious with a dollop of almond butter on top!
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Do you like throwing random combos together? How do you decrease waste in your kitchen?

Brownie Review (+ GIVEAWAY 01/03)

I received some products from Silver Fern Brand to try out and I am so pleasantly surprised! I am always suspicious of health conscious baked good mixes…they are either too dry, have a funky flavor, or include questionable ingredients.

NOT these, my friends! I went with the German Chocolate Brownie Mix in celebration of New Year’s Eve. The mix looked dry at first, but as soon as I tasted the batter…lovestruck. It is full of coconut pieces, pecans, and chocolate.

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Oftentimes gluten free treats taste a little off or different, but you could not tell at all–the texture was exactly like a regular brownie. The batter is definitely a bit thicker, but it only took twelve minutes to bake!

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The finished product:

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Now I don’t often rely on boxed mixes, but with only forty minutes until my New Year’s Eve guests arrived, this came in handy 😉 I would highly recommend this brownie mix, and I’m happy to share that you have your own chance to win a box to try for yourself! In addition to the baking mix or your choosing, you will also win a meal replacement shake mix. Click the Instagram link below for details!

Good luck! Do you rely on baking mixes? Or, do you prefer to go the homemade route?

Quick Updates, Banana Bread, and a GIVEAWAY! (10/24)

Hi! I am sorry I have been MIA–between classes and work, I’ve been a little distracted from some of my favorite things (like blogging!). If you haven’t seen on my instagram feed, I’m hosting a Detour Bar giveaway:

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

If you want to enter, feel free to head over to my Instagram feed and comment with one thing you love about yourself, or you can comment on this post to enter!

In celebration of the giveaway, I decided to make some banana bread using detour bars! This is a great way to add some chocolate, while also adding a protein punch. This is such a simple recipe and is perfect for busy school-day morning.

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 banana
1/2c applesauce
1.5 cups flour (I recommend a combination of coconut flour, almond flour, and garbanzo bean flour)
1tsp baking powder
1/3 cup almond butter
1 detour bar of choice, chopped into 1in pieces

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit .
  2. Combine banana, apple sauce, eggs, and almond better until smooth in a bowl.
  3. Add flour and baking powder to wet ingredients.
  4. Stir until just combined.
  5. Stir in chopped detour bar.
  6. Pour batter into greased, floured medium bread pan.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until top is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

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Why a detox? (+ giveaway!)

In addition to participating in the #SparklingDetox, there is also a chance for you to win free Gerolsteiner water by entering this giveaway: bit.ly/SparklingDetox . I would love for you to join me during this detox from September 12-16! I have been looking for a opportunity reason to cut out caffeine from my diet to see how my body responds, but it has been a hard change to implement. I always joke that caffeine is my one vice in life, which is true, but I am curious how I would cope without it. In the past, I had headaches when attempting to cut back on caffeinated beverages, but I’ve definitely decreased my consumption since then.

When making changes like this, I think it is far more important to think about what you are adding to your life rather than what you are giving up. Sure, I am giving up caffeine, but I am adding a hydrating, nutrient-packed beverage! I have been on-the-go, on the road, and in the air all summer long, which has prompted me to ditch some of my usual routine. I have tried to get some form of physical activity everyday, but I have been far from consistent! With the lack of regularity in my workout schedule, my muscles have been feeling more sore than ever.

Magnesium is crucial for healthy nerve function and muscles, plus there is some evidence that is helps with fatigue and mood. In the past, I have taken magnesium pill supplements, but magnesium has increased bioavailability (i.e. the body can absorb more) when it is consumed in liquid form. On top of the health benefits, drinking mineral water is FAR more enjoyable than taking a huge magnesium pill!

My favorite way to enjoy is pouring a bottle over ice with a squeeze of lemon. I am planning to also add some fresh mint and a dash of stevia to create a faux-jito, which I tested out the other day with great success (see recipe below). How do you drink your mineral water? Do you look at it as simply a beverage, or also as a nutritional supplement of sorts?

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Faux-jito for one:
Combine one sprig of mint, 5-10 drops of stevia, 1-2 tsp lime juice, and 8oz of Gerolsteiner sparkling water in a glass and enjoy!

A Little Lovin’: Life Lessons in Amore

Amore Brand sent me an amazing gift package to sample some of their new (and old) products:

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Look at all those goodies! Pasta, pastes, a water bottle, even a portable charger–a huge thank you to Amore for their generosity.  I am pretty picky when it comes to savory foods and tend to opt for high quality options and strong flavors, so I held these products to a high bar. All of their products are made in Italy with only high quality ingredients and the pastas and pastes are all vegan!

Tomato paste: fresh, delicious, natural. This tomato paste goes ABOVE and BEYOND the tins of tomato paste I usually buy. I didn’t notice before a metallic taste before, but after tasting this tomato paste I don’t think I can go back to the little metal cans! I highly recommend the paste, and a little goes a long way.

I tried out the tomato paste in the recipe below; it’s crazy easy, quick, and a perfect weeknight meal after a long, hectic day.

Tomato Sauce For One Recipe:
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. water (use to thin sauce to desired consistency)

Shrimp Veggie Pasta Recipe:
1 package shirataki noodles (or one serving regular pasta)
6-9 frozen shrimp
1 cup roasted veggies of choice (I used eggplant and broccoli)

1. Place shrimp on the stove over medium heat with a few tablespoons of water or olive oil for a crispier finish. Watch and stir until thoroughly cooked (about 4-7 minutes).
2. Prepare pasta following package directions (directions vary by brand and type of pasta).
3. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.
4. Heat sauce in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds or until hot.
5. Once noodles are prepared, add sauce, shrimp, and veggies and stir well.
6. Enjoy! (Optional: garnish with basil and feel fancy)

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This recipe for one is making me miss family dinners at home already. I recently moved back to college in Atlanta and will start having more single-serving recipes again! Although being a part from family and loved ones is always hard, making recipes that capture the flavors of home certainly help ease the homesickness!

Do you have any quick, easy pasta recipes? Do you prefer a certain type of pasta? What flavors remind you of home?