Strengths, Self Love, and a Giveaway

I am majoring in Psychology and Human Health and have become completely enamored with the field of Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology is not about mental illness, but instead focuses on positive mental health and improving wellbeing. I have been lucky enough to take classes on the topic and learn about simple lifestyle choices that lead to happier, and often healthier, lives. The quote on my Yogi Tea the other day was a reminder of a key focus of Positive Psych: focus on your strengths. Our strengths are a mixture of natural talent and hard work (I would argue mostly hard work and perseverance!), but utilizing them and letting our strengths shine is a wonderful way to maximize our abilities and feel successful. It is easy to focus on where we are lacking or areas where we struggle, but if we focus on our strengths and how to use them to achieve our goals we can maintain a positive mindset.

In no way do I believe that we should not strive to improve and challenge ourselves–that is a huge piece of happiness and growth! Striving for improvement is crucial to success, but it is important to maintain appreciation for your strengths throughout the process. What are your strengths? How have you used them today?

On a less serious note, the NuNaturals giveaway has been extended to December 31! Enter here for your chance to win:

NuNaturals Stevia Giveaway!

Holiday Travels: Tips and Tricks

Traveling for the holidays is hard. It’s mass chaos everywhere; people are distracted, highways are packed, and airports are bustling! There are a few things I always do before traveling to minimize stress and anxiety, whether traveling by car or plane.

      1. I tend to randomly think of things I need to do before I leave or items I need to pack, often in the middle of the night or during class or work. I highly recommend taking 1 minute and writing it down on a piece of paper or make a note on your phone. Then right before you head out the door for your trip, go through the list and make sure you did it all!
      2. SNACKS! Nothing is worse than being stuck in the airport and hungry. Overpriced snacks or unhealthy snacks are both awful options (in my opinion…I am a cheap college student here 🙂 so I always make sure to pack some fruit, veggies, and of course a few questbars.

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

 

3. Stay hydrated! It is tempting to drink less so you don’t have to stop on a drive or get up during a flight, but staying hydrated keeps you feeling good the whole day! Planes dehydrate your skin (why your lips and face feel dry post-flight) and drinking plenty of water can keep your skin and body feeling good.

 

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

4. Treat travel time as “me-time.” Bring along a book you’ve been dying to read, a new CD, or a podcast you enjoy. Jam out, learn, or even sleep!

5. Pack everything the night before…except toiletries! Pack them as you use them in the morning–that way you remember everything you use on a daily basis.

Safe travels this holiday season!

#BetterBodyBlend Brownies

Life has been hectic, the second round of midterms has arrived! After a weekend of studying, I decided some chocolate was in order. Brain food? Yes! I have been studying the benefits of pholyphenols in cocoa powder so I am simply putting my class knowledge into practice…right?

My favorite brownie recipe has officially been replaced! Coconut flour brownies 2.0, my friends. If you haven’t heard, Better Body Foods is hosting a recipe contest to create the best flour blend for their new coconut flour-almond flour baking mix! I used a 5:1 ratio of coconut flour to almond flour to make my #BetterBodyBlend!

Batter is prepped, swirled and ready

Batter is prepped, swirled and ready to go

Brownie Batter Ingredients:

5 tbsp Better Body Foods coconut flour
1 tbsp Better Body Foods almond flour
1/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
2/3 cup egg whites
1 tsp baking powder
stevia to taste
3 tbsp almond milk or water
1-2 tbsp pumpkin (optional, makes brownies more fudge-like instead of cake-y)

Peanut Butter Swirl:

4 tbsp Better Body Foods PB Fit
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp maple syrup, agave nectar, or sugar free syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line a 8×8 dish with parchment paper or grease it well (trust me :o)
  3. Mix the ingredients for the brownie batter until no lumps remain.
  4. Pour the batter into the dish
  5. In a smaller bowl (or the same bowl if you’re not up for dirtying more dishes) mix the PB Fit, water and syrup until the mixture is smooth and still seems slightly thick
  6. Swirl the peanut butter mixture into the batter
  7. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the top is firm to the touch
  8. Let cool (if you can…) and devour!

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Jem Raw Organics and Under-Appreciated Spices

 

Words..I have no words..I officially declare cardamom the most under-appreciated spice in my spice cabinet. Jem Raw Organics was kind enough to send me a few jars of their decadent, raw nut butters. You can seriously taste the quality; they are all silky smooth! I tried the Hazelnut Raw Cacao, Cinnamon Red Maca, Cashew Cardamom, and Superberry Maqui Camu. Their products are all gluten free and vegan and suit nearly every dietary restriction, other than nut-free (obviously).

I have been eating it by the spoonful…

On flax seed rice cakes….

With fresh fruit…

You name it! I definitely forgot how delicious cardamom was. These nut butters are delicious and the flavors stand out on their own–free of additives. I am planning some recipes with these guys and can’t wait to play with them more and let their flavors shine!

What spices do you think are the most under-appreciated?

Simple Girl, Simple Ingredients and BBQ Cauliflower

I received a few Simple Girl products to review and I have been going through both bottles like crazy! This brand uses stevia instead of artificial sweeteners and donates to charitable organizations; how much more amazing can they get? As a small business, they really cater to the customer and my package came specially wrapped. They make dressings, sauce, and seasonings. I love the citrus ginger dressing on salads–it tastes fresh and has the perfect hint of lemon-y sweetness.

I have mainly been using the BBQ sauce for dipping, but it also makes a great dressing! Do not expect a sweet BBQ sauce when you order the Carolina Style sauce; it is on the spicy side–exactly how I like it 😉

BBQ sauce is literally going on everything. Roasted cabbage wedge all dolled up with some sauce!

Without further ado, here is the recipe for BBQ Cauliflower!

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash and cut up your head of fresh cauliflower (I used yellow cauliflower)

Spray baking sheet with coconut oil, or oil of choice

Lay cauliflower evenly on pan and toss with salt and pepper

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the florets begin to brown

After the cauliflower has cooled, place the florets in a bowl and toss with 3-4tbsp of Simple Girl Carolina Style BBQ sauce (or any BBQ sauce you have on hand)

Serve and enjoy!

If you want to buy some (and why wouldn’t you..?) here’s their site: http://www.simplegirl.com/

 

 

Feeling Powerful…

Powerful Yogurt is amazing! I’m loving that their bars have a probiotic yogurt coating; I am a die-hard Questbar fan, but it is nice to have a change of pace every once in a while. I like the yogurt creme bar best–it literally tastes like sugar cookies. There is a rich, buttery vanilla flavor and the bar is super smooth.

I’ve been using their protein shakes as coffee creamer, as well. It is SUPER good and comes in both chocolate, vanilla maple, and açai, although I haven’t tried açai yet! They are delicious on their own, as well. Once again, I am a huge fan of the inclusion of probiotics. They keep the ingredients list short and the shakes are shelf-stable, which is perfect for tossing in my backpack for a long day at school.

I cannot wait to try their yogurt; has anyone tried them? Favorite flavors??

Fitness Burnout

Nothing motivates me quite like happiness.

I don’t know about you, but I am far more likely to stick with workouts that I find fun, challenging, and effective. My personal favorites are blogilates workouts; they are fun and bring me so much joy! Find an exercise you ENJOY, fitness does not (and should not) have to feel like a chore.  The calendar is free easy and I find peace and satisfaction knowing that I have workouts planned for me. The videos usually focus on one area and last for about 45 minutes. Confession: I usually skip the first (cardio) video of each day because I hate cardio, but it keeps me working out about six days a week. The pop pilates videos get my heart rate up, Cassey (the founder of blogilates) keeps it real, and I feel the effects both in increased strength and mood.

Go find your happy workout!

Super(Duper) Bites

These super bites are so delicious and packed with healthy ingredients. They do contain sugar, but it is natural cane sugar and keeps the bites crunchy, slightly sweet, and crisp. Five of my friends tried them and gave ratings of 9/10 and called them “super filling.” Each pack comes with 2.5 servings so a little goes a long way. I don’t know that I will munch on these all the time, but they are great for an on-the-go satisfying snack! A great, convenient way to get some healthy fats, antioxidants, and protein.

Moments of Beauty

 

I am so blessed to have this beauty as part of my walk to classes every morning. Although this week has been rainy, humid, and dreary, I am grateful to have this beautiful scenery and the frequent sunny, mild days of Southern fall. It’s easy for me to feel annoyed at the slightest inconvenience; just missing the shuttle to main campus for class, stepping in a puddle, a (extraordinarily) bad hair day…but when all is said and done, those things are inconsequential in the grand scheme of life.

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