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Gimme a B (Corporation)!

I am a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club and was a sent a selection of B Corp products for this post.

 

B corp stuff
I just got a care package from Stonyfield -- in addition to two containers of Stonyfield's new 100 Percent Grassfed Greek Yogurt (yum!), was granola, a toothbrush, fragrant hand soap, gluten-free flour, matcha tea, and a coupon for a carton of eggs.

Now, I suppose I could test myself and see what I could make with all the products (some sort of soapy granola yogurt tea parfait omelet?), but what these products REALLY have in common is that they're Certified B Corporations.

What is a B Corporation? The B Corporation website sums it up pretty simply:

"B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk."

(And here's a little video to further explain things.)

Turns out, many of my favorite companies are certified B Corps -- King Arthur Flour, Pukka Organic Teas, Method cleaning supplies, Pete & Gerry's Organic Eggs, Preserve Products (the toothbrush is made from recycled yogurt cups!) and my new favorite granola maker, Purely Elizabeth. That blueberry hemp ancient grain granola is fabulous -- especially sprinkled over the yogurt. 

Stonyfield b corp
Stonyfield says it felt a need to join forces with a like-minded group of businesses around the world who believe they have a responsibility to others. After poking around on the website, I'm not entirely sure what the "B" stands for, but the assessment has been developed to Measure What Matters and allows B Corps to compete to be the Best for the World, so my guess is that B is for Best.

I'm one of those persnickety shoppers who looks for things like organic, sustainable, Fair Trade, bee-friendly, etc., so this new certification is something to B on the lookout for when you shop for ethical products.


A pumpkin pie oatmeal bake that's worth the wait

Pumpkin oatmeal bake beauty shot labeled

As a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club, I received products and coupons from Stonyfield and Bob's Red Mill to write this post. All opinions are 100 percent my own.

It's officially fall (even though it's 90 degrees down here), which means it's time to PUMPKIN EVERYTHING!

And despite the swelter, I'm pretending the leaves are changing and there's a nip in the air. I cannot wait for the weather to start cooling down because my physical therapy is working fabulously and my achilles is pretty much back to normal. I really want to get out of the gym a little and restart my neighborhood walks this fall and winter.

It's the perfect time to bake up a breakfast with all the flavors of autumn. I was given the challenge of coming up with a recipe that includes Bob's Red Mill coconut sugar and steel-cut oats, along with Stonyfield Organics yogurt, and since I already knew how yummy coconut sugar was, I made a baked oatmeal dish that you can cook once and enjoy all week.

Baking with steel-cut oats is different than with rolled oats. Steel-cut oats are more hearty and can use a little soaking before baking to ensure you don't end up with a brick in the oven.

I let my mixture sit in the fridge for around an hour but this would be a great dish to prepare the night before then pop in the oven the next morning. 

It's not your typical bowl of oatmeal -- it's more of a cakey, muffiny consistency, so I added a big dollop of coconut sugar-sweetened Greek yogurt for added moisture and protein.

This recipe makes 6 big, hearty servings, so you could get up to 8 servings out of this, depending on your appetite. 

 

Step by stepPumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bake

  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill coconut sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup Stonyfield plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1 teaspoon each cinnamon and ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and a dash of cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts but pecans would be great)
  • Extra yogurt and coconut sugar for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together everything but the oats and nuts in a large bowl. When everything is well combined, add in the oats and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the oats soften. 

When you're ready to bake, pour mixture into a medium baking dish coated with nonstick spray. (I used a 9 by 13 inch pan.) Sprinkle nuts on top.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center no longer looks wet. (Don't overbake this or you'll end up with a brick.)

Cut into 6 servings and serve warm from the oven with a big dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of coconut sugar.

Leftovers freeze well and are great with a splash of almond milk to bring a little more moisture back.

Makes 6 big servings.

 


Stuff I Love: Fancy livin' for less at ALDI

This is a sponsored post for ALDI.

Spongebob fancy living
When I think 'fancy living' my mind always goes to SpongeBob Squarepants.


At long last an ALDI has opened in Plantation. That hasn't stopped me from driving all over the county to shop at one -- I'd either go up north to Tamarac or down south to Cooper City or Pembroke Pines to take advantage of the deals.

For years I had heard about the stores and even met with representatives at FitBloggin' and BlogHer Food conferences, so the urge to drive a half hour to grocery shop was strong, since I knew that the company prides itself on a great selection of items. 

But now, finally, there's an ALDI on 12190 W. Sunrise Blvd. -- just east of the Sawgrass Mills shopping area. It seems to be a really good-sized store (the former site of a CompUSA), and there's plenty of parking. FYI; The bigger the ALDI, the wider the food selection.

Yes, ALDI is a no-frills bargain outlet, but what it lacks in fancy store displays it more than makes up for with surprisingly diverse and better-for-you products. You can check out the Healthy Living section on the ALDI website that highlights its fresh produce and meats, ever-expanding SimplyNature natural and/or organics line, LiveGfree gluten-free products, and sustainable seafood.

The store is great for inspiring dinner ideas -- grab a jar of their Priano pesto and spread a teaspoon of it on a chicken breast before baking it. Super simple and really tasty. And, oh my gosh, get the rosso pesto, too. It's pesto with sun-dried tomatoes and it's mind-blowing.

I like the fact that, aside from my favorite products, I'll also be surprised with items, like the bottle of Tajin seasoning ($2.39) I picked up because I spied a lime on the label. Tajin is one of those name-brand items that you'll find from time to time. The teenager loves that I found Cheez-It Grooves ($2.49) there this week, and I also found PB Crave cookie dough-flavored peanut butter ($4.99).

Aldi haul
Here's part of my Labor Day haul.


There are loads of products in each section but I wanted to highlight a few that I really love and buy again and again.

LiveGfree cornbread mix: I always have at least two boxes of this in my pantry. A fresh batch of cornbread is great to serve with my chicken chili, and I like to mix things up by adding a half cup of corn kernels to the cornbread batter. I also sometimes sub out the oil and use plain Greek yogurt to make a slightly lighter loaf. And the fact that the cornbread is gluten free is a big plus. I don't have celiac or anything serious but my doc said I was probably gluten sensitive and I feel a lot better when I keep it to a minimum. ($2.99)

Southern Grove Oven-Roasted Almonds: I hit up the ALDI first thing Labor Day morning, and since it wasn't super busy, an employee and I were perusing the almond section, wondering what the difference was between the roasted almonds and the oven-roasted almonds. Turns out the roasted ones contain peanut oil, which I avoid because my son has a peanut allergy. The oven-roasted almonds are simply almonds and salt, and those are the ones that I got, along with SimplyNature organic almonds, which are unsalted. ($5.79/Southern Grove; $6.49 SimplyNature)

Deutsche Kuche German Style Sauerkraut: I am seriously in love with this sauerkraut. ALDI is a German company, so it makes sense that they'd have some stellar kraut. Of course it's great on hot dogs and brats but I just attack the jar with a fork to get my fix of probiotics. (Yes, lowly sauerkraut is a superfood.) ($1.69)

SimplyNature freeze-dried fruit: This is a fairly new addition, and I am love the freeze-dried peaches, apples and strawberries. You can eat the entire bag for 100 to 130 calories, depending on the fruit. The apples still have their skins intact and it's a nice combination of green and red crunchy apple slices. It's a perfect lunchbox addition. ($2.99)

SimplyNature Organic Macaroni and Cheese: If you're going to make boxed mac and cheese, why not make it organic? My teenage boy loves this stuff and usually downs half the box in a sitting. I'll make a box, add a can of tuna and a cup of peas and -- voila! -- it's instant tuna noodle casserole. a super easy dinner. Another way to add extra protein is to sub out the milk and butter and use an equal amount of plain Greek yogurt. It adds extra tang to the cheese. It also comes in the slightly more elegant Shells & White Cheddar. ($1.29)

Aldi fancy stuff
Certain items have limited availability, so if you like them, snap them up while you can. I found some great German-style rye bread ($1.99, 2-year-aged English Cheddar ($3.49) and English cucumbers ($1.19) , which, come to think of it, would make a lovely fancy tea sandwich. They also had those teeny, thin haricot vert ($2.19) -- green beans to you non French speakers.

... oh, who am I kidding? I got a D in college French and all I retained is haricot vert.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Barissimo Fair Trade Certified dark roast coffee, which sells for the tiny price of $3.99 for a 12-ounce bag. That's about half what you'd pay for Fair Trade coffee, and it's great.

Oh! Those Asiago Cheese Crisps ($2.99) in the photo? They're FABULOUS, and if you're a fan of Panera Bread's Romaine and Kale Caesar Salad, these are just like those cheese "croutons" that top the salad.

Speaking of salad, ALDI ran a cheeky little ad, inviting a bunch of foodies to a dinner where they were served a lovely multi-course dinner and they had to guess which items came from ALDI (spoiler alert: they all did). Anyway, the kale salad prepared by Bon Appétit executive chef Mary Nolan looked especially delish, so here's the recipe, which would make a great entree salad:

Kale Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing, Marcona Almonds, Avocado and Dried Cranberries

  • ½ cup Friendly Farms Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons Carlini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon Stonemill Essentials Iodized Table Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground Stonemill Essentials Peppercorn Grinder
  • 16 cups SimplyNature Organic Kale
  • ½ cup Southern Grove Dried Cranberries
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces, divided
  • ½ cup roughly chopped Marcona almonds, divided

In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, lemon zest, salt and pepper until smooth.

Toss dressing with kale and thoroughly mix, massaging into leaves. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Toss in dried cranberries, half of the avocado and ¼ cup almonds. Mound into a large serving bowl and top with remaining avocado and ¼ cup almonds.

Recipe courtesy of executive chef Mary Nolan, Bon Appétit

* * * 

I really hope I've given you a different look at ALDI because the store has really been upping the healthfulness of its products, moving toward 100 percent cage-free eggs, taking junk food out of checkout lanes, expanding its gluten-free and organics and removing synthetic colors, MSG and other artificial ingredients from its own lines. 

You can find out more at Facebook.com/ALDIUSA, Instagram.com/ALDIUSA, and Twitter.com/ALDIUSA.


Stuff I Love: Have you seen the db2 dumbbell? It's awesome

I'm now post-cataract surgery on both eyes (20/20 vision, y'all!) and able once again to workout and lift heavy things. We're also in the middle of a kitchen remodel, so getting to the gym can be tricky when people are coming in and out of the house every weekday. 

Aside from sweeping and vacuuming mountains of plaster dust and whatnot from the other rooms of the house, I've been sneaking in some workouts when and where I can. This morning it was an upper-body routine with my awesome new db2 dumbbell, which I found on Amazon. 

Here's the cool thing -- I found it because Amazon has it on sale right now for Mother's Day. Usually it's $26, but it's $14.99 for the moment, and I don't know how long that sale is going to be going on so GET THIS THING -- IT'S AWESOME.

It's like an inside-0ut dumbbell -- instead of the weight being on the ends, it's in the center, so it's like a hybrid of a dumbbell and a kettlebell.

This morning, while babysitting the dog, who is stuck in his crate so as not to annoy the workers, I grabbed the db2 and alternated bicep curls with overhead tricep curls. Then I did front arm raises and finally wood choppers. I'll probably throw in some Russian twists after I'm done with this and find some more exercises to do with the video below:

 I bought the 8-pound db2 but it comes in a bunch of sizes -- it's just that the 8-pounder is on sale right now. 

(I love that Amazon featured a hand weight for its Mother's Day sale.)


Greetings from Planet Yogurt! (Stonyfield Grassfed review)

I am a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate Club. I received products and coupons to write this post, and all opinions are 100 percent my own.

We go through a lot of yogurt at our house, so much so that one of the produce bins has been reclaimed as the yogurt bin. It's usually filled with a variety of yogurts -- Greek, "regular," plain, fruit flavored and so on. There's usually a bottle of kefir in the fridge, too, (I'm a recent convert to plain kefir), and a quart of plain yogurt for recipes.

Got a lot of culture up in here!

Have you noticed that fat is making a comeback in the yogurt section? Hold up, dieters, it's actually a good thing. The past couple of years have seen the release of studies showing that America's fat phobia has come back to bite us in the ever-growing posterior. By taking out all the fat and replacing it with gobs of sugar, we're actually doing ourselves a disservice. The satiety that a little bit of naturally occurring fat provides works much better than sugar, which basically burns through you like jet fuel. For reference, HERE'S a study showing that people who consume full-fat dairy were actually leaner and had less cardiovascular risk than people who eat the fat-free stuff.

Let's get science geeky!

If those cows are fed 100 percent grass, instead of the corn, distillery waste and gummy worms (I AM NOT KIDDING) that many get, their milk is much higher in omega-3 fatty acids (good for lots of things) and conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. What's so great about CLA? It may help people lose body fat. Hilarious, huh? 

OK, science geek - how's the yogurt?

Stonyfield grassfed yogurt
I like to play with my food.


Stonyfield recently sent me a variety of its new 100 percent grassfed whole milk yogurts, and I'll admit, at first I was a little freaked out. We've been programmed for so long to believe that fat is the enemy that it's unsettling to see the words "whole milk" on a label. 

But soldier on I did!

The yogurts I was sent were "old school" thinner yogurt, instead of thicker Greek yogurt, so these are lower in protein than strained varieties. Looking at the plain container, it has 120 calories, 5 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs and 7 grams of fat in a 6-ounce container. See? That's not scary at all. Grassfed is also organic, non-GMO and made without artificial hormones.

My husband's favorite combo is cereal and frozen berries topped with a container of yogurt. He appreciated the thinner texture of these yogurts as he mixed up his big bowl of yum. The flavored ones -- vanilla, strawberry and blueberry -- are 140 calories per container.

What did I do with the plain? Lemme tell ya: 

  • I subbed it for the milk and butter in boxed macaroni and cheese, and the teenager thought it was great. The tang of the yogurt gives the cheese powder some needed sharpness.
  • I used it in place of the liquid and fat in a boxed cornbread mix, giving the cornbread a little tang and moisture.
  • I mixed it with ranch dressing powder to make a super simple veggie dip. 

I know what you're thinking: Where's the smoothie recipe? Sure, you can make a smoothie with yogurt, frozen berries, crushed ice and a little stevia, but I wanted to give you some ideas you might not have thought of. But go ahead and make an awesome smoothie with it. The added fat will help with satiety, something that people often complain of when subbing a smoothie for a meal.

If you're wondering where to pick up Stonyfield grassfed yogurt, you can check the bottom of Stonyfield's product page HERE for a store locator.


A super simple, super blueberry smoothie

Blueberry smoothie white labeled
Wyman's sent me a coupon to purchase berries for this post. No other compensation was given.

I think I've made it abundantly clear that I LOVE smoothies -- I love making them, drinking them, dreaming up new flavor combinations. So when Wyman's wanted to know if I could come up with a recipe using their frozen berries, I said "of course!" I buy a bag of Wyman's blueberries pretty much every week. The big difference with their frozen blueberries is that they're wild berries, so they're much smaller and sweeter than other frozen blueberries. Bottom line -- they just taste better.

They're also easy to find. Publix carries the smaller bags of blueberries, and you can find bigger bags at Whole Foods, and even bigger bags at Costco.

Blueberry smoothie marbleI wanted to show off the blueberries so for this recipe I didn't mess around. Everything is blueberry -- from the yogurt to the liquid to, well, the blueberries. If I could have found blueberry protein powder I would have used that as well.

Many fruity smoothies are just a big load of sugary carbs but not this one. There's 12 grams of protein from the Greek yogurt and another 20 or so from the protein powder, so it's a substantial meal replacement. All that awesomeness and only 300 calories!

Deep Purple Blueberry Smoothie

  • 1 cup Wyman's frozen wild blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Bai5 Brasilia Blueberry beverage
  • 1 5 ounce container blueberry nonfat Greek yogurt (I used Trader Joe's)
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (I used Twinlab Cleanseries whey)

Add all ingredients to a single-serve blender container and blend. 

Done!


What's in a Bulu Box?

 I was chosen by Sweat Pink to review a Bulu Box in exchange for my honest opinion of the service. 

Monthly subscription boxes can be nice little monthly gifts in the mail. From clothing to jewelry to snacks and supplements, there are boxes for nearly everyone, including dogs.

BuluboxI checked out Bulu Box, which is a wellness-focused subscription service. Every month, you get a box filled with a new mix of four to five samples to try. Every sample should be sufficient enough to decide if the product is right for you.

My box contained Runa Focused Energy ginger-citrus guayusa tea, Movit Energy Gummies, Simple Being Simple Diet weight-loss supplement, Earth’s Care anti-itch cream, and Fusion chicken jerky.

The chicken jerky was the first to disappear -- the husband and I split the 3-ounce bag of lemon pepper flavored jerky, which was nicely spiced and chewy but still soft enough to sink your teeth into. The bag of jerky retails for $6.99, so that's quite the premium sized sample.

The teenager snapped up the energy gummies for band camp. While he said he didn't feel any palpable jolt from the gummies, which have a small amount of caffeine plus B vitamins, he said they tasted good. 

image from assets.bulubox.comThe anti-itch cream has camphor and menthol, so the minty cooling felt great on my gym boo-boo. (Who scrapes their arm on the locker-room locker latch? Me.) It wasn't necessarily itchy but I can see how it'll soothe bug bites and minor eczema.


The tea was smooth and citrusy and had a green tea vibe, but I didn't try the weight-loss supplement because green coffee beans and their ilk haven't been proven to do anything and I don't want to go down that road again.

Interested?

The cost for a box is $10 per month, and readers get 50 percent off a 3-, 6- or 12-month subscription with the code SWEATPINK on BuluBox.com


Stuff I Love: Soybu activewear (a giveaway!)

Soybu sent me an outfit to review and is also offering a piece of clothing to one lucky reader.

I pretty much live in workout clothes, so I'm always in search of activewear that's cute, comfortable and performs well. I used to workout in a uniform of baggy T-shirts over black capris but a few years ago I realized that 1.) The baggy T-shirts get in the way of working out 2.) It doesn't look good. So I stepped up my style game at the gym.

I had heard of Soybu activewear but hadn't had a chance to try it out until I got back from this year's FitBloggin' in Denver. As a speaker at the conference I was given a pair of Soybu leggings, which I immediately fell in love with. Super comfy and great looking. 

After the conference Soybu contacted me to do a review/giveaway and I jumped at the chance. Here's what I chose:

Soybu outfit

That's the Alyse Hoody in Vermillion burnout, the Lola Tank in Ethereal Blue and the Allegro Capri in the Mandala print. The hoody is great for warmer climates because it's super lightweight so it gives you a great layering piece. The tank is versatile in that one side is a rounded neck and the other is a V-neck so you can flip it around. And the capris are WONDERFUL. You can't see in the photo but the bottom of the leg opening is shirred, which gives it even more style. I love the pattern, and there's a little pocket in the front to slip my iPod in. 

The fabric on all three pieces is super soft and stretchy. I did a Pilates workout after I snapped this photo and there was no digging or riding up or down. Just bliss. 

Another great thing about the Soybu line is its extensive size range -- extra small to 3X, which is a welcome change for many activewear companies. All my pieces are the 1X size, and while the arms on the hoody are a little snug the tank runs a little big and the capris are absolutely perfect.

Soybu giveaway

Now, here's the cool part -- I get to give away one of these pieces! (Don't worry, you'll get a new piece in your size.) 

Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions and you're all set!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Stuff I Love: Flapjacked protein pancake and baking mix

Carrot pumpkin flapjacked waffles
Do your waffles have 20 grams of protein? Hmmf. Didn't think so.


I thought I'd kick off a new category today -- Stuff I Love. Most of the time it'll be things that are regulars in my kitchen, gym bag or closet. Sometimes they may be sponsored posts but I'll make sure to label those. This week is not sponsored because I've been buying the stuff for quite awhile now. 

I'm sure you've seen plenty of recipes for protein pancakes. Many are simply things like egg whites, mashed bananas and protein powder, and many are (sorry!) pretty gross.

FlapjackedI first discovered Flapjacked protein pancake and baking mix on a smoothie run at Smoothie King. They sold the 12-ounce bags at the store but I figured I'd Google around and find the best deal on it, which I actually found at the Flapjacked website (they have great sales). Amazon also has really good prices, too, if you do a Subscribe & Save deal. (Pro tip: You can schedule those subscriptions as far apart as every 6 months, so it really does pay to sign up.)

Instead of dipping my toe in the Flapjacked pool, I jumped in head first by buying a sampler pack of all the flavors -- Cinnamon Apple, Buttermilk, Banana Hazelnut, and the newest, Carrot Spice. I started out simply making pancakes but quickly found that you can make a lot more great baked goods with the mix, including waffles, muffins and quick breads.

The line has recently been reformulated and now every flavor has 20 grams of protein per 200-calorie serving. You also get 5 grams of fiber. The mixes are low in sugar, non-GMO and wheat free. 

Still working off my dozen cans of pumpkin that I bought at a Whole Foods moving sale, I added some to the Pumpkin Spice mix and came up with some fantastic waffles.

Carrot-Pumpkin Protein Waffles

  • 1 cup Carrot Spice Flapjacked pancake mix
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons currants or raisins

Mix everything together (mixture will be pretty thick) and let it thicken even more while your waffle iron heats up. I cooked the waffles just a touch longer than regular waffles because they're really substantial.

Makes 2 servings of 2 waffles each.

 


Sriracha almonds? Say no more!

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

Blue diamond srirachaSince I am a Blue Diamond Tastemaker, I get fairly regular shipments of almond products that I'll use for recipes and blog posts.

My latest delivery was a two-pack of Sriracha Blue Diamond Almonds, and frankly, this is the only recipe you need:

  1. Open can.
  2. Enjoy.

I mean, seriously? Why mess with perfection -- these almonds have just the right kick of heat to keep things interesting and provide their own "satiety shut-off." Turns out, making foods spicy can increase satiety. (HERE'S a link to the medical mumbo-jumbo.)

For the most part, I keep a few cans or the big bag of Low-Sodium Blue Diamond Almonds in the pantry most of the time but these little stunners will join the lineup for sure.