Baked Sweet Potato Chips with Yogurt Mustard Dip

Finally. Yes, finally. I am so excited about this. Literally, I smiled so much. I purchased sweet potatoes and made my own homemade sweet potato chips out of them. Is that lame? Of course not. I will never be ashamed of being excited about something little like this. I am, after all, a big dork 🙂 I don’t mind it.

Truth is, I have never bought sweet potatoes before. My parents have. My mom loves them. I love them. She makes them all the time as a side (savory) to dinner when I still lived at home and sometimes when I come to visit. I haven’t ever bought them for myself though. Not sure why. I’m not a big starchy fan overall, I can go months without any pasta or rice or potatoes. It’s just not that special to me. I’m sure the fear of gaining weight has a lot to do with it though. I guess I’d rather not like them to be safe. But it’s okay.

Clearly, though, I haven’t sworn off starchy foods and I am open to eating them. I just don’t do it that often. But when I do, oh baby, it’s on- I might as well make the most of it and make it deeeelicious. Well, duh. 🙂

This is barely even a recipe. But it’s so good it deserves it’s own post. Mmm. I decided to add a yogurt dip on the side so that the protein offsets the high GI of the sweet potato and therefore the combined GI index is smaller.

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Banana Cream Pie Parfait (high protein)

I want summer to end already. Woah, yes, that’s right – I said it. The more it randomly rains for one day, the more I realize how much I love rain, and thunderstorms, and cuddle weather… I miss Fall and I want it to be here. I also love school and I want the semester to start. I get these fluttery feelings inside when I think of Fall. It makes me think of new beginnings; it is sort of like a nostalgic feeling – I get those a lot. They are wonderful feelings because they make me feel and think of how things used to be and how I used to feel, it makes me miss my childhood. But I don’t dwell on those feelings. I do hope to recreate them eventually though, probably with my own family in the future (whenever the time comes). The cuddle warm feelings of sitting in bed while it’s storming outside. I love those moments. It is saddening to me that this will be my last year at college. As much as I am ready to conquer the world, I am not entirely ready to leave school and the light-heartedness and “lack of” serious responsibility that comes with it. It means that another chapter of my life will be closed. The thought both excites and terrifies me.

Along with the thought above, holy crap, is it really the end of July already? Like, as much as I’m all for Fall being here – where has the time gone? Seriously, it feels like yesterday was only the weekend after 4th of July. The time is going by faster than it ever has before. It’s awesome cause Fall is near but I highly doubt the time will slow down once it’s in my ideal spot – next seasons will come and go just as quickly, I’m sure. We live in such a busy hurried world.

Anywho, you might have noticed I have been on quite the parfait kick lately. This time a ripe banana had to be used that has been sitting on the counter for about a week. Super sweet goodness. Time to get in my belleh– parfait style! Yeah, this time it’s a banana cream pie parfait. I just come up with these things as I go. I might be inspired by random things. *cough* pinterest *cough* I also have a whole list of recipes I have altered that are waiting for me to dig into and finally make in the kitchen but in time… mister, in time. There’s a time and place for everything. And today, it was the time for this banana.

Oh yeah, it was also my first time cooking oat bran. I haven’t had oat bran but always seeing it on Lisa’s blog, I wanted to try it. Although I made it entirely differently than she does, I still want to credit her for giving me to inspiration to buy this product. I love oat bran now and I can’t believe it took me this long to become converted. The texture is just right – so creamy and delicious, it also has more nutritional value than regular oats. The only downside is that it takes a bit longer to cook. Doesn’t stop me though 🙂

I made this in the afternoon and ate one right there and then ate another one for breakfast. The breakfast one tasted even better, so I recommend you give it a try and stick it in the fridge for a whole bunch of hours. You won’t be disappointed.

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Bear Naked and Stretch Island Fruit Co {review}

I recently got a package with some awesomeness…

First off – I got to try a lot of flavors of this Stetch Island Fruit Co.  fruit leather I mentioned earlier. I only go to try raspberry flavor before and now I can vouch for the taste of the rest of these. I like them all! They are less than 50 calories each and they provide you with just the right amount of sweetness without none of the artificial junk that comes with fruit roll ups or other commercial fruit leathers. There is no added sugars (because fruit as sweet as they are, duh!) or artificial gunk, therefore these are 100% all natural. They also contain half a serving of fruit in each.

I’ve only tried Bear Naked granola once before. They were giving out small sample packs of the granola at my old gym. I loved the taste of this granola, it was yummy – so I was excited to try more products from this company. Bear Naked is today’s leading adventure food and lifestyle company and it offers a full line of all-natural granolas, cookies, cereals and trail mixes. Launched in 2002, the company is passionate about creating great-tasting, natural foods to fit today’s active, on-the-go lifestyle and is best known for its signature soft-baked granola made from 100% Pure and Natural ingredients.

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PB&J parfait (high protein/lowfat)

I have a big love for PB2. I actually prefer it to regular peanut butter. Yes, the main reason is because of its caloric value. But another reason is that I’m actually not a big fan of peanut butter itself. I prefer almond butter. I always have. While peanut butter is alright (but not super high) in my book, I still like the flavor of PB&J. I mean, what’s not to like? I even made vegan chocolate PB&J cupcakes before!

Anyway, this peanut butter and jelly pudding parfait is a healthier and lower fat alternative to your favorite peanut butter and jelly snacks or desserts. It is high in protein thanks to the use of cottage cheese and peanut flour. The crunch from the granola is perfect and gives an ideal combo of textures. Additionally, the use of cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels from all of that delicious sweetness that’s going on here. And you wonder why I add cinnamon to all my desserts? 😉 I love me some great health benefits, duh.

I also recommend finding a lower sugar or no sugar added jam variety. Fruit are sweet on their own, I don’t think it’s necessary to add any additional sweetners to the mix. Thankfully, I still have some jam from May’s trip to the Amish country.

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Apple Pie Parfait (nonfat/high protein)

Today is the day to find out if you’ve won the Arctic Zero giveaway… please head on over to the post to see if you’ve won or watch this video 🙂

I’ve been eating this parfait for a few years now. I’ve made various alterations to it from month to month. I used to add almond butter and honey to it but I later realized it contain far too many calories that way and the combination of nut butter + honey is a trigger food for me, so I’ve been doing my best to avoid the combo lately. I don’t want to trigger my body to go into overload/binge mode.

So this is a lighter version of the apple pie parfait. It’s still delicious. It’s just less calories and fat than the way I used to make it. It’s a wonderful autumn snack although I enjoy it any day, any season (clearly).

Looks so pretty in a glass doesn’t it? I usually just eat it out of a bowl, but I’ll do anything for the sake of good pictures 😛

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts (vegan)

This isn’t a recipe. It’s too simple to be called that. I contemplated not posting this at all but since I’m recording all of my culinary adventures, I thought I should post it after all. This is a simple post telling how I made brussels sprouts in the oven. Yes, I used the oven even though it’s hot outside. Thankfully I have air conditioning and I don’t care about the heat.

I’ve had these brussels sprouts in my fridge for about a week and I’ve been meaning to make them, finally I came around to it. It’s so simple but since I’m not exactly kitchen fluent yet, I can’t guess how many minutes to put it in or at how high of a temperature to keep it at. So then that’s why this post was written. Even though many of you might be like “duh?”, this post is FOR ME too! I have been treating my blog as an online diary and notebook, kinda, that contains all food/health/fitness related stuff. So there. That’s that.

By the way these were very yummy and reminded me of chips. Well some of the leaves got very crunchy and the salt made them really similar to chips (I never eat chips, really so I could be far off, haha) but the flavor overall is very good and perfect for a snack, not just as a side dish.

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Reese’s Overnight Oats (high protein)

I loved these because of how creamy they turned out. I made them before and I had to write down the exact proportions because of how well they turned out. Now I made these again last night but I ran out of almond milk! So I improvised and used some of the nonfat kefir I had in the fridge. The original written down recipe calls for 2/3 cup almond milk so you can try it either the original way or the way I’ve written it down in the recipe. Both results in creamy delicious oaty goodness. Mmmm.

My preference is for multi grain hot cereal rather than Old Fashioned oats simply because they have less calories. But then again they are also tastier, there is more of a complex flavor to them. But both kinds will work here, of course.

I was actually surprised how much these overnight oats truly taste like a peanut butter cup. But better! Because it’s healthier, fills you up more, packed with protein, not much sugar, AND it’s creamy (who doesn’t like creaminess?). These proportions are much recommended.

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Peaches and Cream Ice Cream

Wow, you guys really wanna win the Arctic Zero prize pack, huh? I don’t blame you – it’s a huge giveaway! I’m just as excited about it as you are! Keep the entries coming 🙂 On to the post…

I actually have never had peaches and cream, but I think it’s a thing right? There is a song but I highly doubt they were talking about food in that one 😉 haha. Anyway, I recently received a gigantic package from Arctic Zero with all of their flavored pints and it got me thinking – what are some fun ways I could eat ice cream? So I decided to experiment with this a little bit.

One of the flavors is Vanilla Maple and I thought this would go perfectly with the one peach I had left. Delicious, juicy peach. I’ve been wanting to roast a peach and see how it works out. My George Forman needed cleaning though so I opted for the pan.

I didn’t add any oil or spray to the pan, simply because I didn’t think it was needed. I wasn’t trying to fry the peaches, just warm them up a bit. I’m also not a big caramelizer just yet – only did it once in my life. You could probably actually caramelize the peaches if you add some coconut oil and maple syrup while it’s frying, perhaps. I thought the combo was already so sweet tasting though, that it really wouldn’t need any extra sugar in there.

This recipe is shared on Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fit & Fab Fridays

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Raspberry Mint Yogurt Bites

My parents’ garden is filled with raspberries. I love how easily they want to grow. Every day there is a ton of new ones ripening and they are simply delicious! No pesticides here, oh no. Why would we want to sacrifice taste to make sure a fruit is bug-free? Who cares if there’s a bug in there or if the raspberries come out big or small? I think flavor is what really matters in a delicious fruit.

Take non-organic strawberries for example – they barely taste like anything. Regular strawberries seem to have no flavor to me, similarly to many other berries as well as cherries. But try an organic berry and your world will be blown. The flavor is so intense and complex it simply bursts in your mouth and your tastebuds dance in joy as they have never danced before! Now that’s a celebration of fresh fruit!

Combining raspberries with fresh mint leaves seemed like a great idea. Adding yogurt to the mix, similarly how I did with the chocolate-covered yogurt bites a while back was the basis for the creation. This delicious snack does a great job at cooling you down on a hot summer day all while delivering important antioxidants and protein from the yogurt.

Gotta love quick (kinda) and easy summer desserts. This is why summer is my favorite. Nothing in the world beats fresh home berries. Yum!

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Strawberry Kiwi Quinoa Muffins

The other day, I went ahead and visited a nearby Farmer’s Market. I’ve been dying to check it out from all that you guys talk about how awesome they are – and how much cheaper all of the produce is! Unfortunately, as I talked about yesterday, the prices were not very competitive, they were actually quite a bit higher than I expected them to be. Not horrible of course, but higher than I thought. Plus there wasn’t as much stuff there as I expected to find either.

I did however find some amazingly flavorful organic strawberries. I paid $6 for a pint and I was in heaven – the flavor of these babies was just as good as the strawberries I remember from Poland. So much flavor in every bite, this sweetness, the delicate tartness… oh man, I just love berries. So much!

I had some kiwi left over from my recent grocery trip and I’ve been getting tired of eating them by themselves. So after mixing and matching with ideas and what I’ve seen all around I put all of the stuff I had together, including the unopened box of Quinoa flakes.

Strawberries, kiwi, and quinoa flakes. I bought the quinoa flakes 2 months ago because I found a cool recipe for it. But you know, what else is new, I lost the recipe. So the box has been sitting there unopened ever since. Until now, that is 🙂 When these muffins were baking the whole apartment was filled with the aroma of strawberries and kefir. Such a nice fragnant scent.

I enjoyed a muffin with a glass of strawberry banana protein shake post workout 🙂

Oh no, a strawberry is drowning!

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