The Nut Butter Company Review

I bet you saw the title of this post and immediately clicked on it, because let’s be real, who doesn’t like nut butter?! 😛 The Nut Butter Company is a company I came across on Instagram (check them out at @TheNutButterCompany)! Of course, being an avid lover of all sorts of nut butters, I decided to reach out to the company and ask if they could send some samples for me to review. They were more than willing to do so, so here I am with a review!

I was sent small jars of four of their nut butters: Cashew Honey Dark Chocolate, Walnut Brown Sugar Coconut, Almond Espresso Cinnamon, and Cashew Rosemary Shallot. Below is a short review of each flavor!

Cashew Honey Dark Chocolate:

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Immediately when I saw the name of this one, I knew it would be the first one to try! This flavor has a smooth, creamier consistency than the other three in my opinion. I really enjoyed this one because I adore dark chocolate, and this flavor combination was to die for! This was probably one of my favorites of the four.

Walnut Brown Sugar Coconut:

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This was the second one I tried. It definitely did not disappoint one bit! Over the past couple years I have taken a liking to the coconut flavor (which I actually used to find disgusting), so I thoroughly enjoyed this butter. The consistency of this one was chunkier than the others — which I really like! Chunks = love. 🙂 This was also one of my favorites of the four butters I received!

Almond Espresso Cinnamon:

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I actually only just tried this one yesterday because I’m not a huge fan of the coffee/espresso flavor in general. But earlier this week I decided to try and slowly get myself to like coffee (why I’m doing this, I have no idea :P). That being said, I decided to finally give this one a go! All I have to say is that this flavor was pretty darn good! It has a great flavor ratio, if that makes sense. The consistency of this one was smooth and creamy.

Cashew Rosemary Shallot:

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This was the final of the four that I tried, and again, I only just tried it yesterday. Judging by the name, I was a little bit on the leery side. The flavor combo sounded a little different to me for some reason. Although, I’m usually all for trying weird combos because a lot of the time they actually turn out being strange-but-good combos! So with that in mind I went for it. In all honesty, it was probably my least favorite of the group, BUT that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it! This was also more of a smooth consistency, but it seemed a little thicker than the others. But all in all, I enjoyed this flavor, and if you’re into a little extra spice, you will like this flavor!

 Finally, I would like to end with an overall review! One thing I really like about these flavors is that they’re unique! They’re not just your regular old peanut butter or almond butter (although sometimes simple tastes amazing)! These are some flavor combinations that I have never thought of before, but I really, really like them!

Again, I truly want to thank everyone over at The Nut Butter Company for their generosity in sending me these samples, and I strongly encourage you to go check them out at http://www.thenutbuttercompany.com/!

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Some of My Current Favorites

Woofta! It’s been a little while since I’ve posted on here! I’ve been pretty busy with classes, work, physical therapy, and observing at physical therapy appointments for the past month or so. But good news — I graduated from Physical Therapy a few weeks ago, and I can no officially run pretty much pain-free without a knee brace! (For those of you who don’t know, I injured my IT Band back in November). Anyway, there have been multiple instances where I had plenty of time to at least do a quick post on here, but honestly I am always to lazy #collegeproblems 😛

Today I figured that I should probably really get on that, so here I am! I don’t really have an actual plan or something, like a recipe, to post about, so I just decided to post about some of my recent favorite food/health products!

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We’ll just start out with this picture above because they look cute. 🙂 These are some pancakes I made yesterday before my workout! (Check out my post about these on my Instagram page: @laurensfitlife)! I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret: I have a waffle/sandwich/panini make in my dorm. Illegally. Haha! I got it about a month and a half ago, and it was so worth it! I mean, I know I’m not going to get caught or get in trouble because the “health and safety” checks they do at my dorm building are totally lax. The RA literally knocks on the door, opens it, checks to see if the light on the fire alarm is still blinking, and then leaves. So I figured it wasn’t too risky to bring this into my dorm room. 🙂 Anyway, I used Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes mix for these waffles. IF you have never heard of these, check them out at Target or online! I have used this mix a lot and I definitely swear by it! It makes the fluffiest yummiest waffles (or pancakes!) and they’re very versatile! You can just make them as it says on the box, or you can add your own touch to them too! I love doing both!

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Next on the list of some of my recent favorites are these! Okay, I won’t lie — this popcorn has been one of mine (and my mom’s) HUGEST weaknesses pretty much since forever! I there are several different brands of bagged popcorn (all with minimal ingredients) that we both love! These are the really big bags that you can find at Costco! Confession time: I can finish off one of those bags by myself in three sittings (probably in a shorter amount of time if I let myself! haha).

Also, I am super super pumped about French Toast Crunch’s comeback! I would ramble on about his too, but I think you pretty much get the idea. 😛

And don’t get me started of that peanut butter. Salty. Caramal. Jif. Whips. That it all. 🙂

And lastly in that picture, I also enjoy me some Cellucor C4 Fruit Punch preworkout on those days where I’m not feelin’ it! I love the flavor and it definitely gives me the tingles to make my workout that much better!

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The last thing I’m going to post about today is Boom Chick A Pop Sweet Barbeque popcorn. Since I already talked about my undying love for popcorn, I won’t say too much about this. Usually I just stick with the regular popcorn flavor, but this flavor sounded pretty good, so I gave it a go! Boy, am I sure glad I did! This flavor combo is absolutely fabulous! I highly recommend you try this flavor, especially if you’re a barbeque fan!

Well, that’s all for today! I hope you enjoyed this random, pointless post! Haha 😛

Baked Textured Vegetable Protein Crisps

Well, here I find myself at the last official day of Winter break. I knew this day would come way too fast. Am I ready to go back to classes? Heck no! But I’m excited to see what my new classes will be like! (Hopefully easy 😛 and interesting, of course)!

One thing that is a little on the unfortunate side is that I have to go back to using my dorm’s kitchen. Nothing wrong with that — just that I have to rent out pots. pans, etc if I want to use them. Not to mention the fact that I don’t have all the baking and cooking essentials on hand in my dorm room like my parents obviously do in their cupboards! But the good news is that I go to school in town, so if I ever need anything, it’s not too far away. 🙂

Last Sunday was just kind of a lazy relaxing day for me, but I was itching to make something new for lunch for myself. As in making up a new recipe! So this is when my TVP Crisps were born!

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Now, what exactly is TVP, you may ask? TVP stands for Texture Vegetable Protein. It’s basically just dehydrated soy! You can get super creative with it and really you it for whatever you can dream up! I’ve even simply just rehydrated it with Veggie Broth and topped it with mixed or stir fried veggies!

Let’s cut to the chase and get to the recipe, because I really don’t have too much else to say! 😛

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Baked TVP Crisps

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup TVP
  • Vegetable broth (or water or other type of broth) — measure according to package directions
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Kale, packed
  • 1 tbsp (additional) Veggie Broth
  • 2 tbsp Oat Flour
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Trader Joe’s 21 Salute Seasoning (or other seasoning of choice)
  • Garlic Pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Rehydrate TVP using Veggie Broth, according to package directions.

3. Combine all ingredients listed above.

4. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and scoop mixture from the bowl with a spoon and place on the baking sheet in small rounds. Press down on the rounds a little bit.

5. Bake for 15-18 minutes, depending on your oven. Flip the rounds halfway through.

6. Take out of the oven and let them coll for a few minutes, and enjoy!

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These are the crisps pre-baked.

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Andddd post baked!

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I enjoyed mine by dipping them into Oikos Cucumber Dill Greek Yogurt Dip! Along with the rest of my lunch. 🙂

Let me know if you give this recipe a try! 🙂

Single Serve Kodiak Cakes Breakfast Cake

Cake. Who doesn’t like it?! In most cases it is not something considered to be healthy in the slightest. And don’t get me wrong — I like my share of unhealthy things. I have gradually learned and reminded myself that it is totally okay to indulge every once in awhile. But getting back to the point of this post (man, I’m good at going off on little tangents 😛 ), I wanted to make up my own recipe for something for breakfast this morning. I typically like to start my days off with a breakfast that’s generally almost fully healthy. It just gets be started on a good note for the day. So alas, my single-serve breakfast cake was born!

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About a year and a half ago I bought a little ramekin so that I could bake single-serve things for myself. You’d think that by now, after having it for awhile now, I’d have made a ton of different things with it. Wrong. This was actually my first time using it. Please don’t judge me. But on the bright side, I now see myself using it more often!

If you frequent my blog and have read my last few posts (thank you so much, by the way, if you do!), you’ll know that I can ramble and make my posts much, much longer than they really need to be. With this being said, I am simply just going to make this post more simple and sweet! So without further ado, the recipe!

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Single-Serve Kodiak Cakes Breakfast Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Mix (found at Target)
  • 2 tbsp Oat Flour
  • 1/4 tsp BAking Powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut water (or liquid of choice)
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1/8 tsp (or more) Butter Extract (Next time I will probably use more than 1/8 tsp)
  • Desired amount of Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients on a small to medium sized bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix.
  3. Grease a ramekin with coconut oil or other cooking spray.
  4. Pour mixture in the ramekin and bake for 25-28 minutes depending on your oven. I used the toothpick trick. You may want to keep an eye on it and do the toothpick trick as well!
  5. Once it’s done baking, top it off with you favorite toppings! I topped mine with chia seeds, some banana coins, Walden Farms Pancake Syrup, and I also added more cinnamon after I took the pictures! 🙂

Year’s End

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Well, here we are. The last day of 2014. I know this is cliche and it’s said every year, but this year has really gone by so fast! There have been plenty of ups and downs for me this year, but hey, here I am. Without everything (both good and no so good) that has happened to me this year, I wouldn’t be the same person! Am I completely happy with my entire life and the exact person I am today? No. But I am happy to have been given this life and I am happy with most parts of myself. I am ready to start the new year, and my main goal is to just be happy.

One of the major struggles in this past year is something that I have talked about several times in past posts. As you probably know and can tell by my blog, I follow the health and fitness community pretty darn closely. When I initially started following the community a little over a year and a half ago, all was well. I was so interested in all things health, fitness, and nutrition. This is when I started my health/fitness/nutrition Instagram account (@laurensfitlife). At this time I was by no means eating completely healthy and clean, and I was alright with that, but I very, very soon wanted to start eating more and more healthy.

Fast forward about a year or so, and this eventually turned into restricting myself from anything remotely unhealthy or unclean. I started having negative thoughts towards my body and certain foods. If my mom suggested making something for supper or baking something for fun, I would always try to find or suggest a similar but more “clean” recipe for myself. At the time, I was completely fine with this. I didn’t see it as something that was and would eventually produce extreme, out of control negative thoughts. I was content at the time.

Last year was my freshman ear of college. I remember the summer before and just hoping that at least one of my roommates (I had three all together) would share the same love for fitness and nutrition with me. Well, none of them really did. So you can imagine how uncomfortable/awkward I felt with all my health foods around our room at first. But eventually, I became more comfortable with it and also with my roommates. I was the “healthy roommate.” This was a title that I absolutely loved, but on the outside I just kind of treated as one of those nicknames you done hate and you don’t mind. I would work out a lot, and rarely eat anything that wasn’t clean. When I say this, I mean that it would be a very hard thing for me to even eat a fun size piece of candy, even if it was my favorite. And when it came around to December, I got an Advent calendar with a chocolate for each day of the countdown to Christmas. Honestly, I can’t even remember if I even ate a single chocolate. I remember that I just told my roommates to have at it. If they saw that the day we were on wasn’t open yet, they could just open it and eat the chocolate. I was too afraid to eat a single one.

So that was all in 2013. But now let’s start with 2014. For the entire month of January I was still on break because my college did J-term. My family and I were in Texas for a couple weeks around Christmas and New Years, but a little while after we got back, I had to go get my yearly physical. I was honestly kind of excited for this because I was ready for the doctor to complement me on my “healthy” lifestyle and on how good I looked and how well I was doing. Well, I was in for a shock. The doctor told me my bmi was 18. This bmi is placed on the high end of underweight. So I was by no means severely underweight, but I was at a low enough weight to concern my doctor. I was completely shocked at this. When she asked if I was eating enough I just told her that I really felt that I was and that I just went to the gym a lot. She told me that she really wanted to see me put on a little weight so I could be healthier, which was something that was very difficult for me to hear.

I started to think about what that doctor told me and I kind of reflected back on my habits during my first semester of college. Yes, I still felt like I was eating enough. But then I realized I was eating enough, but not nearly enough for someone as active as I was. And honestly looking back on it now, I definitely over exercised, which is something that I have been working on in the past few months. Anyway, let’s get back to my story. I also think another reason why I felt like I was eating enough when I really wasn’t is that my roommate that I was closest to didn’t eat nearly as much as me. She had been told awhile ago by her doctor that she can only eat a certain amount of calories, which was all related to a heart condition. But I’m not going to get into that since it is personal, and because this is my story, not hers. But anyway, I think that my eating intake decreased because I would have a fuller plate than her, and I was always still eating after she was done. This made me feel that I was over eating, when in reality, I definitely was not.

By the summertime, I challenged myself to take it easy on the cardio and focus more on strength and weight training. This is something that I had wanted to do for a little while, but I was afraid of the number on the scale going up. Despite this, I went forward with the challenge. Low and behold, I fell in love with weight and resistance training. For time (and length’s) sake, I am not going to get too in dept with the past half year. But in a nutshell more or less, I hurt my lower back in September, and then a little later I hurt the other side of my lower back. This meant that my weight and resistance training was severely limited. Since I was so limited, I thought that maybe I would just quick see how running felt. I started out very slow and gradually increased my pace. Surprisingly, running didn’t hurt at all!! So I started running a lot more often than I had in the previous few months. I began to truly enjoy running again — even the treadmill wasn’t as bad as it used to be!

Now let’s bring it to November. One weekend I was running on the treadmill, and I was feeling better than I ever had on a treadmill. I wasn’t getting bored or exhausted or anything! So I just kept going until I felt like stopping. I ended up running 6 or 7 miles on the treadmill both days. I was feeling great! But all of the sudden, in the middle of the next week I started getting hip pain and upper thigh pain on the outside of the right leg. I just figured I’d take it easy for the next few days or week or so, and I would be good as new. Unfortunately, the pain wasn’t going away, so I decided to get it checked out. I was diagnosed with ITB Syndrome, and as given some stretches and exercises to do. I was told that my injury was most likely due to overuse and that I should be back at it within the next couple weeks. When I told my family this, my brother, who I’m rather close to, told me flatout that I exercise too much. Little did he know that this really affected me. But I wasn’t going to let it show.

So ever since then, I have been going to physical therapy, have been resting more often, and have only been doing upper body and abs at the gym. My leg has really been feeling much better, which is something that obviously makes me happy, but once I am fully healed, I’m still going to try to take it more easy at the gym and take rest days more often. Like I said in my last post, this injury was truly a blessing in disguise.

Wow that was a novel!

When I first started typing this post, I had no intentions of it being that long, but let’s get to some of the good things in the past year. I think I’ll make a list, so that this doesn’t also turn into a novel 😛

These are in no specific order. I’m just listing them as I think of them. 🙂

1. I switched my major and transferred schools, and I am happy with where I am academically.

2. I have gotten to spend more time with my family.

3. I have realized how much I restricted myself in the past (read above) and how strict I was with myself, and I am doing my best to work on changing that.

4. I have been working on being more positive about rest days and have been better about think of them as beneficial and good for me in the long run.

5. Some days are mentally tough for me in general, but I am also working on that to the best of my ability.

6. I have had such a loving and amazing support system and I truly want to thank each and every one of those people.

7. I have learned to do — and not do — things because I do — or do not — want to do them. I have tried to stay true to myself. I want to please other people, but I also make sure to stay in tune with myself as well.

8. Much, much more!!

Lastly, here are just a few things that I have decided to try and do in the next year:

1. Stop being so strict with my “normal” schedule. I want to be easily willing to make sudden, spur of the moment, changes to it without it negatively affecting me and my thoughts. I want to be more flexible.

2. Meet new people.

3. Don’t sweat the small things.

4. Not worry so much about food in general.

5. Be more positive in all aspects of my life.

6. And lastly, (for now) like I said earlier, I just want to be happy. 🙂

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Well, I am so so thankful if you stuck with me and read this entire, lengthy, novel-resembling post! I in no way had intentions of making it this long, but here we are now! haha. 🙂 I hope you all had the chance to reflect on this past year, and I hope the best for you in the coming year! This is your year. Make it happen. 🙂

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Life’s Hidden Blessings

(Cover Image Credit to: http://tiny.catpa.ws/life-is-good-to-me/)

Well hi there! I’ve been quite slacking on my blogging duties these past few months! I’ve been pretty busy this past semester, but all the hard work has definitely paid off — I finished off this semester with a 4.0!! It’s definitely a nice reward for all the hard work I put in. 🙂

Being on Christmas break now, I have been trying to take advantage of all the free time I have (other than picking up extra shifts a work :P) by relaxing, crocheting, and hopefully I will be baking and cooking some new things! I am super excited to get back to some of these things that I haven’t gotten to do much since Summer.

If you follow my Instagram (@laurensfitlife), you’ll know that I injured my IT Band about a month or so ago. It was tough to come to terms with at first, but I quickly came to think of it as something that I really needed, both mentally and physically. The reason I say this is because eating disorder thoughts have been taking up essentially a lot of my thoughts for at least the past year, and it’s something that I hide from people in real life because it’s something that feels very personal to me. Although I have never actually been diagnosed with an eating disorder, I have without a doubt had ED thoughts in regards to food and exercise. A little while before my injury I really began to think that I need to just take a break from my “normal” routine, which was eating as healthy as possible, restricting myself from almost all “unhealthy” foods, and exercising a lot 6 days a week. So this is why this injury is something that I consider to be a blessing — it kind of forced me to do what I’ve wanted, but have been so afraid to do: rest, eat what I want no matter how healthy or unhealthy, and just think more positively about things and not worry about things that aren’t worth worrying about.

Surprisingly, this all came a lot more easily to me than
I thought it would. I have been having more positive thoughts, and I have also truly been enjoying my life more. I guess I never really realized until now that for the past year and a half or so, I really haven’t been truly enjoying certain parts of my life. When I look back on it, I essentially let the whole health/fitness thing take over my life. Now, I’m not saying that health and fitness are bad, because they are obviously very important things, but when you let it rule your thoughts and actions every minute of every day, you are not living in a healthy way. I am so glad that I am realizing this now, before I really miss out a a big chunk of my life.

Currently, I am still in a “resting” mode in a sense. I have still been working my upper body and doing the bike at the gym, but I do it because it makes me happy, not to burn extra calories or to “make up” for something I ate. I am also still having more rest days than normal, and I am okay with that! Having more than one rest day in a week used to terrify me, so feeling the way I do now is such an amazing and freeing feeling. 🙂 My leg has really been feeling better in the past few days, which is so nice because I can actually walk around with little to no pain! I have been doing physical therapy for the past few weeks, and I can for sure already feel a lot of improvement!

Normally, athletes or people who just like to exercise obviously don’t like injuries. But to me, I feel that it has been and still will be a huge benefit to me in many different aspects. I don’t want to say that it literally “saved” me, but it did save me from my bad thoughts, and it is leading me on the road to a better life. It kind of prompted me to do what really needed to have been done for quite some time now. If I didn’t have this injury, I would probably still have those negative thoughts like “I can’t eat that because it has cane sugar in it,” “I really regret eating that,” “I need to workout after what I ate today,” etc. Those thoughts would have just continued into a deeper negative spiral, and I really don’t want to know where I would have ended up.

So to my injury, I thank you. I am thankful for this life that has been given to me. I have been handed this difficulty because God knows that I can handle it, and I am now on a better road. Sometimes blessings are truly hidden, but once we realize the blessings in our lives, we will be more at peace and will be headed in a more positive direction.

Thin Slim Foods

Woofta! It’s been quite a long, busy, but rewarding past few weeks! I have been incredibly busy with classes, so that is why I have been neglecting my blog for a little while!

Anyway, I have finally found some free time to write up a quite post here before I eat some food, be lazy and watch The Proposal on ABC Family! 😛

Today I want to write about an awesome company that I discovered through Instagram! The company is Thin Slim Foods. I reached out to them by email after finding them on Instagram and doing some research. They were gracious enough to send me a sample pack of their products, and HOLY COW! I literally can’t think of a bad thing to say about their products I tried!

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Before I get into talking about the amazing taste and texture of their products, I want to give you guys some background info on the company. The nutrition information and the macro’s in general for their products is pretty dang awesome! They are high in protein, low in calories, low in carbs, and sugar free! Now, I am not a person to say I try to avoid carbs, because let me tell you, carbs are my one and only. So even if Thin Slim Foods’ products were higher in carbs, I’d still love them just as much. 🙂 Anyway, like I said before, the overall nutritional value of these products is great!

Now on to my quick mini-review of the products!

Plain Bread: I absolutely LOVE the texture of the bread! It’s so chewy and amazing!

Brownie: HOLY MOLY. The brownie literally tasted like a real unhealthy brownie! It was so chocolatey and chewy and moist! Fabulous!

Cinnamon Cookie: Y.U.M. First of all, the flavor was definitely on point, and it had the perfect amount of cinnamon in it! The texture was also great!

Almond Square: I am still at a loss for words! Along with all the other products, the flavor and texture were impeccable! I love the almond flavor of this yummy, healthy treat!

Last but not least was the Vanilla Cupcake. Unfortunately, I failed to see the “Please refrigerate or freeze” notice on the wrapper, so I let it sit on my food shelf in my dorm and proceeded to forget about it for a little while. So it got moldy, and a very sad me did not get to try it. 😦 But I’m sure it was just as amazing as everything else!

So given everything that I have said, I highly suggest you head on over to their website: http://www.thinslimfoods.com/

and their Instagram page: :ThinSlimFoods

If you have tried their products, let me know what you think, and if you haven’t, you need to!! 🙂