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:

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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?

Summer, Sun, and Sparkling Water

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When I was invited to participate in Gerolsteiner’s #SparklingDetox, I could not turn the offer down! I always love a challenge, and what’s not to love about sparkling water? For five days, from September 12 to September 16, 2016, I will swap out all my usual beverages for Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water. It’s a super simple way to take a break from highly processed beverages and excessive caffeine to see how my body responds. In addition to changing my beverage of choice, I’ll have the support of  the Sparkling Detox Facebook Group. I know I am going to need all the support I can get with limited caffeine in my system!

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

I am excited to participate in #SparklingDetox because I get a lot of my nutrients from supplements (calcium chews, magnesium pills, etc.) and I am excited to get the same nutrients from an all natural mineral water source. I encourage everyone I know to take calcium supplements or make sure to get enough calcium from their diet–I even got my roommate hooked on calcium chews! Ensuring adequate calcium intake from a young age through adulthood is essential for so many reasons, but especially when it comes to bone health. I was lucky enough to have a DEXA scan (fully body composition scan) that analyzed my bone-mineral content and it showed I have strong bones, which I attribute to getting plenty of calcium in! I understand hesitancy when it comes to taking processed supplements, but with another great option of mineral water to get this key nutrient…it’s hard to have a good excuse!

I have a hunch that Gerolsteiner sparkling water might be a better source of calcium than pop-tarts 😉

Although this is #SparklingDetox, I do not support detoxes that claim to be quick fixes or require strict diets in any way, but I am a huge fan of adjusting aspects of your lifestyle to see how your body responds. Health is a process and oftentimes changing it up and exposing our bodies to something new can be beneficial. I am so excited to see how drinking Gerolsteiner benefits my body. If you want to join me on this journey you can win a free supply of Gerolsteiner for your own detox here: sparklingdetox.votigo.com …

Look out for an upcoming post with more information on this detox.

Life Abroad: London Eats (Part 2)

London was pretty amazing…the sights, the food, the culture…all of it. One of my favorite cultural differences was the endless number of fresh food markets. Beyond the famous markets, like Borough or Camden Market, there is a fruit stand on nearly every corner in many areas throughout the city. I loved grabbing a pint of strawberries or fresh cherry tomatoes to munch on as I explored.
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I was lucky enough to meet a very kind chef who hooked me up with a delicious kabocha squash since I couldn’t find them anywhere! And yes, it was as delicious as it looks.

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Of course I had to try some of the amazing health foods…these Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bars were delicious!

 

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My favorite meal by far was from Goodlife Eatery with some amazing ladies of Quest Europe!

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How to #FeelAmazingEveryday

So I am big on self-care, and funnily enough it is not as simple as it sounds. It takes time and effort to determine what makes you feel your best and no two people are the same. On top of that, I personally think that what you need for self-care constantly changes. Some days we simply need to relax and take a break from the chatter of the world, but sometimes we need the company of a positive friend. I have found a few things that I aim to squeeze in everyday, (even when I am studying abroad!) simply because they make me feel like my best self. I aim to do Blogilates five times a week (about 30 minutes each day), write in my gratitude journal every night, and get to bed at a reasonable time so I feel well-rested for the next day’s adventures.

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

Although this is different from many of my peers (who must be Energizer bunnies!), it is what my mind and body need and I have come to fully accept that. In addition to these self-care practices, I have tried to eat well during my time abroad and that means eating a healthy breakfast every day! The Amazing Grass Superfood Protein line is perfect for this–what better for a quick breakfast option that a nutrient dense smoothie?

Amazing Grass Protein SuperFood contains a unique blend of organic pea, hemp, chia and quinoa, and provides a whopping 20g of complete plant-based protein. It’s a great grain-free, paleo friendly option made from whole-foods ingredients. I love that it is plant-based since I am working to move away from animal proteins, which have a much larger negative environmental impact.

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

If you want to try out the new protein powder, be sure to check out the giveaway going on on my instagram account or buy here.

Get 50% your online purchase with code:”40SWEATPINK2″ for 40%  off your online purchase!

Here are some photos of all the people in my family currently loving the Superfood Protein…

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Baking Mixes GALORE (and more)

Silver Fern Brand contacted me and asked if I wanted to try out a new line of baking mixes…and in what world could I possibly turn that down?

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on


This brand is not the typical Pillsbury or Duncan Hines. I got blueberry muffin, german chocolate brownie, and chocolate chip cookie baking mixes–all sweetened with a proprietary, low glycemic natural sweetener called Kakato, a blend of monk fruit extract, Stevia sweetener and prebiotic fiber. I also got bags of caramel corn, kettle corn, sweet jalapeño cheddar, and movie theatre style popcorn. Most of their baked goods are made with algal flour (instead of wheat flour), which makes them allergen-free, GMO-free, gluten free, and trans-fat free. This also makes them high in fiber and protein, and low in net carbs. So for everyone who reads that list and automatically thinks they must be taste-free too, WRONG 😉

We had family in town this past weekend so I decided to make the blueberry muffins for breakfast. The longest part of the prep was waiting for the oven to heat up, and the muffins came out looking beautifully golden-brown.

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My cousin tried one (he is not one to hide his opinion) and he loved it! He is pre-diabetic and this was the perfect breakfast option that everyone could enjoy.

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My dad is addicted to Skinny Pop and my mom loves her Cracker Jacks (only on rare occasions…) so the caramel corn and movie theatre popcorn were big winners in our house! I was a big fan of the unique sweet jalapeño cheddar flavor–just a little bit of spice!

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I’m a big fan of healthy alternative-type products and this brand is certainly one to look out for! The popcorn also makes a great #strangebutgood topping to smoothie bowls or just about anything really! (Props to Sprint 2 the Table for the popcorn topping idea!)

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but it still reflects my honest, unbiased opinions on the products. 

Arctic Zero (Reviews+Giveaway!)

So I was lucky enough to receive a package of the new Arctic Zero flavors from the amazing Angelica and her team. Of course, I had to sample them all so my dad and I sat down and tried some of every pint! We have analyzed the data and what follows is our official report.

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In full disclosure, my dad is a die-hard chocolate fan and I need a strong flavor to be pleased so we are a bit biased. So here are all the pints, lined up and ready for judgment tasting.

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

 

  1.  Snickerdoodle Dandy:

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We liked this flavor! My dad is not a huge cinnamon fan, but he still enjoyed it! I LOVED it–the chunks were amazing and tasted like little bites of snickerdoodle dough heaven.

2. Banana Pudding: I don’t have a great photo for this one, but keep an eye out for future instagram shots of it! We liked this flavor alright, but neither of us are huge on banana so that could explain it. It was creamy and reminded me a little of banana laffy taffy in color!

3. Poppin’ Pomegranate: We liked this one overall, but was not a fan-favorite! The pomegranate flavor was nice and refreshing, but it wasn’t one to write home about!

 

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

 

5. Brownie Blast: My dad just wanted more and more of this flavor! The was super rich and decadent and the added brownie chunks AND chocolate chips were certainly a hit with both of us. I am currently dreaming of plopping a nice scoop on top of a hot dessert (I’m thinking mugcake..or even pancakes!) and letting the chocolate chips get all melty.

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Sorry for the blurry quality, we can’t be tamed around chocolate…

6. Cake Batter: I LOVE this flavor. Old Arctic Zero flavors sometimes fell a bit short, but this one is alllll there. Even my dad was surprised by how much it tasted like cake batter! This one is definitely my second favorite (following a tie between brownie blast and snickerdoodle dandy).

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

 

For your chance to win your very own pint, simply pop over to my instagram and enter by 05/22/16. (Open to US only). For an additional entry, comment below with which flavor you most want to try! FIVE winners will get a coupon for a free pint of any flavor!