Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area NC July 2019

Have you ever stumbled on something on Instagram and discovered it's right near you?

That's how I discovered Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area (wow, that name is a mouthful). It's only about one hour from my house yet I had never seen it, been there, or even heard of it until I saw someone post it on Instagram! 

Often times, my mom and I opt for close parks to do a quick hike on the weekend because it's just easier to stay within two hours driving distance for a regular basis. So, I was excited to find a new place nearby to explore! 

We went on a Sunday afternoon and I had already gone for a run that morning so I wasn't in the mood for any intense hiking. The park only has six miles of trails as of now but they have plans to add more trails. We made a loop out of the Grindstone Trail and the Prison Camp Trail totaling close to 2 miles. The trails were rated moderate. The Prison Camp trail goes past the former site of inmate housing but I never noticed it! 

The trail was pretty easy and well marked. There was some stoneface that could be slippery when wet. There was no spectacular views and I probably wouldn't go out of my way to do this hike again. 

The park seems new and well maintained. There were clean restrooms at the parking area and a cute playground for kids. 

They also have a Vertical Mile Trail - completing 8 loops of this trail (16 miles) equals one vertical mile! Talk about a hike! I can't say I'll be trying that challenge any time soon!



It was nice to try some place new, especially being so close to home!

Check out the Rocky Face Mountain Recreation Area here: https://rockyfacepark.com/

Friday, August 16, 2019

Homemade Healthier Marshmallows!

Summer is the perfect time for baseball games, cook outs and s'mores!

S'more what?

S'more marshmallows!

If you're like me, the concept of homemade marshmallows sounds a bit intimidating but I can assure you, these were so simple! These marshmallows also happen to be sugar free and have gut healthy fiber!

With a few ingredients, science and patience, you can have these healthier marshmallows for yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp gelatin 
  • 1/4 cold water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sweetener
  • 1/4 cup VitaFiber IMO powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • optional: marshmallow flavoring

Directions:

  1. Line a loaf pan with wax paper. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the gelatin and cold water and let it sit. 
  3. In the meantime, combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until bubbling. 
  4. Remove the mixture from the stove and slowly mix it into the gelatin mixture. 
  5. Continue to mix with a hand or stand mixer for about 15 minutes. 
  6. Pour into the prepared pan and allow to set. Cut into squares and store in the fridge!
See, I told you it was easy! 

What will you do with these marshmallows? I just snacked on them plain! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Product Spotlight: Built Bars!

I've got a riddle for you. 

What's 110 calories, packed with protein and has chocolate all over?

A Built Bar! 

Built bars are making waves on social media and in the WW community and fitness community alike. What's all the hype about?

I didn't really have any expectations when I first tried Built bars so I was pleasantly surprised. They have no funky aftertaste, no protein taste, and are just downright tasty! 

Every flavor is coated in real dark chocolate 🤤with a sweet, light filling. The interior is almost fluffy - like a cross between mallow and nougat. There's no chewiness, grittiness or stuck to your teethness. 

They come in a great variety of flavors: Mint Brownie, Mocha, Coconut Chocolate Crème, Banana Chocolate Crème, Double Chocolate Mousse, Orange Chocolate Crème, Salted Caramel, Raspberry Chocolate Crème, Mint Chocolate Crème, Lemon Chocolate Crème, Vanilla Chocolate Crème, Strawberry Chocolate Crème, Blueberry Cheesecake, and the all new Mango! Phew, that's a lot of flavors - it makes it hard to choose a favorite. 

Some of my favorites are Mint Brownie, Mocha, Blueberry Cheesecake (surprised myself with this one), Lemon Crème (another surprise), Double Chocolate and Vanilla! You really can't go wrong with any of them! 

Not only do Built Bars taste like a candy bar, they are made with quality whey protein, no soy, and no artificial ingredients. They pack in 15g of quality protein, 6g of fiber and only 7g net carbs. Every bar is just 110 calories so you can enjoy candy-like protein any time! 

They often run specials and I just stocked up on 2 variety boxes because I just can't choose a favorite! They always ship FREE in the continental US. Check out Built Bars here: http://builtbar.com/HHF2019 and use code: HHF2019 to save on your order!

Which flavor will you choose? Or do you like a taste of everything like me?

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Hanging Rock Hike July 2019

A-hiking we will go! Hi Ho Hi Ho a-hiking we will go. 

I wanted to get together with a friend before she moves and what better way to do that than with a hike! 

We changed our minds about where to go at the last minute due to the weather forecast and settled on Hanging Rock State Park in NC. The park is about 1 1/2 hours from my house so it's a pretty easy drive. 

We did the Hanging Rock Trail which I've done numerous times before. It begins just off the main parking lot and is very well marked. It begins with a descent and then is uphill for the remainder with some stairs. 

Upon reaching the top, there are several big rocks to get a good view. I love a good view! I enjoy this hike because I think it's enough of a challenge to break a sweat, but not too much to carry a conversation and you're rewarded with a great view. 



The trail is not a loop so you simply head down the same way you came up ending up hiking just over 2.5 miles. It's a go-to hike for a nearby hike and I had a great time with my mom and friend. We drove down to the lake but ended up leaving the park and going to Whole Foods! 

Do you hike with friends? What's your go-to activity to catch up with friends?

Check out Hanging Rock State Park here: https://www.ncparks.gov/hanging-rock-state-park

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Straight from the Source - The Ice Cream Source!

I LOVE ice cream.

No, I mean I really love ice cream.

If you follow me on Instagram (@healthy_happy_and_free), you know what I mean.

So what's an ice cream  addict  loving girl to do when she can't find all the ice cream her heart desires?

Get it from the source!

IceCreamSource.com is an awesome website that is chock full of ice cream options. From light ice cream to gelato to Italian ice to non-dairy ice cream to frozen yogurt to ice cream bars - they have it all! Heck, they even have goat milk ice cream!

The site is super easy to navigate with options to shop by Category, Price, Brands, Top picks or Gift Packages. There is also a search bar if you are looking for something specific. I love the gift package options because seriously, what better gift could there be?? (If anyone is looking to send me a gift - here's an idea. 😉)

Some of the most popular brands on their site are Chocolate Shoppe, Ben & Jerry's, Enlightened (my favorite!), Halo Top (#OG), Yasso, Haagen Daaz, and Coconut Bliss. Just to give you an idea of the extent of their selection, they have 57 products from Enlightened. So if you can't find a product locally, check icecreamsource.com!

Ice Cream Source recently sent me an awesome package of goodies that I can't find locally. The package was delivered via UPS. They ship Monday through Friday. It arrived frozen and in good condition. I was delighted to see French Toast, Chocolate, Strawberry Cheesecake and Marshmallow Peanut Butter Enlightened pints which are a few that are hard for me to find locally!




They ship the products in a cooler with enough dry ice to remain frozen well into the night of the date of the delivery - though they advise the ice cream is transferred to the freezer ASAP. Always use proper precautions when handling packages with dry ice. A fun fact from their website: the temperature inside the box is about negative 110 degrees F which is 100 degrees colder than your freezer! I greatly appreciate the care they put into packing the products! Did I mention free shipping on orders over $75? Better stock up!

I loved the customer service, the plentiful options and the ease of using icecreamsource.com! Next time you're freezer reaches poverty ice cream inventory, try going to the source - The Ice Cream Source! Maybe you'll find something new!

Check them out https://icecreamsource.com/ and be sure to sign up for their email list so you can find out about the latest sales and promotions!

What's your favorite ice cream?

These products were sent to me for free but all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Vegan Paleo Chocolate Mousse

Vegan.

Paleo.

Chocolate.

Mousse.

Three Ingredients!?!

Honestly, I would have been sold at just seeing the word "Chocolate"! This mousse is so simple, how can you not make it? As an added bonus, it happens to be suitable for just about ANY diet. I love making recipes that are suitable for people with dietary restrictions because I believe no one should have to go without chocolate!

So what are you waiting for? Whip this mousse up ASAP?

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut cream*
  • 2 Tbsp Vitafiber IMO powder
  • 2 Tbsp cacao
  • additional sweetener, if desired

Directions:

  1. Chill the coconut cream until it is solid. 
  2. Whip the coconut cream with a mixer. Add in the Vitafiber powder, cacao and additional sweetener if desired.
  3. If it warmed up as you whipped, simply put it back in the fridge to firm up and whip again before serving. Serve chilled and top with chocolate if desired. 
Makes 2 servings. 

*The coconut cream should be simply coconut and water in the ingredients. It is canned. There are other products that have additional ingredients - these are not the same thing. I know Trader Joe's sells the coconut cream this recipe calls for.

Do you have any dietary restrictions? How do you incorporate chocolate into your life? 

Friday, July 19, 2019

Friday Finds! July 2019

Another Friday is here! 

So another round of Friday Finds! Check out some of my latest discoveries and let me know what new things you've found lately!

Good Food Made Simple Flatbreads - Good Food Made Simple is a brand that makes frozen foods that are good and simple! They recently came out with flatbread breakfast sandwiches available at target. I decided to try the Turkey Sausage Egg White flavor and it was pretty good! It was satisfying and protein packed. I had to microwave mine just a little longer than the instructions stated but it was still quick and easy!

Photo from realgoodfoods.com
Real Good Foods Stuffed Chicken Breast - Real Good Foods is another frozen food brand with real good ingredients! I love this trend so people have access to food that is quick, easy, and made with real ingredients. Their latest product release is a line for stuffed chicken breasts described as juicy, natural chicken breast stuffed with creamy veggies, meat and cheese. They are 100% gluten and grain free. The flavor options are: Spinach and Artichoke, Poblano Chile and Creamy Jack, Broccoli and Cheese, and Cordon Bleu. They are currently available at Publix or online at RealGoodFoods.com and you can save on your online purchase with code: HHF. I am super excited to try these protein packed entrees!

Clio Minis - Clio Bars are greek yogurt enrobed in chocolate, typically found in the yogurt section at the grocery store. I love them! They taste like cheesecake wrapped in chocolate. They come in a variety of flavors and I truly love them all. However, their newest innovation is a pack of Clio Minis. This is a box of half size bars so now you can have just a small treat anytime. I love this idea, this brand and their initiative to #OwnYourHappy by promoting the idea of going after your dreams and owning your happy! You can find out where they are sold here: https://cliosnacks.com/pages/store-locator

This week's latest finds were all food related but what else is new? 😆

I hope you get to try some of these fun foodie finds! What is your latest foodie find?