Monday, December 31, 2018

December Hike of the Month - Ledge Springs Trail, Pilot Mountain, NC

The final hike of the year!


December threw us for some loops and the weather has been rainy and unpredictable. Nevertheless, we managed to sneak in our final hike on December 29 - just in the nick of time!

We stayed pretty close to home, traveling to the nearby Pilot Mountain state park. We have done a shorter trail there before and have always talked about trying the longer trail. The longer trail is Ledge Springs trail which begins below the summit picnic area or off of the shorter trail - the Jomeokee trail.

We picked it up from the Jomeokee trail and it starts with a very brief uphill and then a lot of downhill down rock steps. There are cliffs, ledges and views. The trail is rated strenuous. We passed several groups of rock climbers which was really neat to watch!

Eventually, the uphill began. Up, up, up. There are a few nice overlooks and then we ended up near the picnic area which makes the trail almost a loop. One sign stated the trail was 2.2 miles but I’m not really certain. Also, note that the trail is wet! It’s not called Ledge Springs trail for nothing! There were several trickles and a few slippery spots.

It was not my favorite trail but I’m glad we finally tried it. Hiking a new trail each month has allowed us to challenge ourselves, explore new places and learn about our surroundings! It’s  been quite the year! We are still trying to decide what hiking goal to set for the upcoming year, mileage, States, so many possibilities!



Monday, December 24, 2018

2018 Product Discovery!

Can you believe another year has come and gone?

Time is such a weird thing. It's happening right now!

Anyway, here are some of the fun new products, foods, etc that I discovered in 2018! There's a lot of innovation happening and I love it!


  • Fre Skincare - Have I raved about this enough? This all natural, Argan oil based skincare has a great mission and great products from cleansers to detox masks!
  • Square Organics Crispy Peanut Butter Bars - Square Organics is a long time favorite of mine and this year they dropped the new peanut butter crispy bars! They taste so good and satisfy that sweet craving!
  • Enlightened Dairy Free - The people asked and Enlightened answered revealing a new line of dairy free ice creams. I still prefer the regular Enlightened but these make a delicious choice for those that need dairy free options! 
  • Air Fryer - This is one purchase I don't regret! I use it almost daily for sweet potatoes, vegetables, chicken wings and more! I love the versatility of this new-age convection oven appliance!
  • The Cereal School - this product is so innovative and the execution was flawless - a low carb, zero sugar cereal that will transport you back in time to grade school! It's crunchy and delicious. Color me impressed! 
  • Siren Snacks - These vegan protein bites are a new take on protein snacking. Instead of committing to a whole bar, you can have a bite or two or a whole bag of bites. It's up to you. Not only that but they taste delicious! 
  • Eat Smart Sweets Vegan Gummies - I guess companies are really trying to reach the vegan community as Eat Smart Sweets released two new gummy options - fish and sour blast buddies. I have tried the Sour Blast Buddies and they are fantastic! My new movie snack!
  • Misfit Ray - I love this fitness tracker because it's small, sleek and waterproof! I wear it in the shower - no problem! It tracks my steps, calories and sleep which I can view in an app on my phone! I think it's a great product and budget friendly too!

Honestly, I could probably go on and on but those are just a few of my favorite 2018 newbies. What was your favorite new product of 2018? What are you hoping for in 2019?

Other honorable mentions: Arctic Zero new light ice cream and reformulated dairy free blew it out of the water; Popped water lily seeds is a trendy, new snack that I love; Clio bars have changed the game with their greek yogurt bars coated in chocolate - mindful indulgence at it's best; Granola butter is an epic new spread made from oats!








Thursday, December 20, 2018

Sugar Free Snowball Cookies!

How many snowballs have you eaten this year?


No, not real snowballs (hello acid rain lol), snowball cookies! This iconic shortbread cookies looks like a snowball because it takes a nice bath in powdered sugar! Mmm. But what if you're trying to reduce your sugar consumption?

No worries! You can still have some tasty snowballs that will go perfectly with your steamy mug of hot chocolate. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Vitafiber powder*
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk 
  • 1/2 cup powdered erythritol 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans or nut of choice
  • additional powdered erythritol for rolling 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet/parchment paper/silicone baking mat. 
  2. Combine the flour and fiber powder in a medium bowl. 
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and 1/2 cup powdered sweetener. Add in the almond milk and vanilla. (I would start with 1/4 cup almond milk and add more if needed.)
  4. Pour in the flour mixture and mix until combined. 
  5. Stir in the chopped nuts. 
  6. Form small balls - about 1 tbsp of dough - and place on prepared baking sheet. 
  7. Bake for 15-16 minutes, until golden on the edges. 
  8. Remove from oven and while the cookies are still warm, roll them in powdered erythritol, then allow to cool. 
  9. Enjoy by itself or dunked in a warm hot cocoa! 
Makes about 16 cookies. 
Macros per cookie: 70 calories 4.3f/7.5c/1p

Snowball cookies are a classic cookie that I love! The ingredients are so simple, I like to make sure I use high quality products so I recommend using a high quality real butter (not margarine) and real vanilla extract. What's your favorite cookie?

*If omitting the fiber powder, try adding 2 tbsp flour. 
Find vitafiber at vitafiberimo.com and use discount code VGMEGANO20 to save!


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Gingerbread Spice Cupcakes - Gluten Free

"What's with you and gingerbread lately?" - My Dad

Um, hello. 'Tis the season for all things gingerbread, eggnog and peppermint mocha  - am I right?

The sweet spices of gingerbread with the natural sweetness of molasses always makes me feel warm inside. So why not take those classic flavors and turn them into cupcakes! Not to mention cupcakes that are gluten free, low in sugar, and higher in fiber! 

Anytime is a good time for these guilt-free gingerbread cupcakes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/3 cup cassava flour 
  • 1/4 cup Vitafiber IMO powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 egg (at room temperature)
  • 5.3 oz vanilla yogurt/skyr (I used 0% Siggi's Vanilla Skyr)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk 
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar or brown sugar substitute 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1/2 tsp butter flavor (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Prepare a cupcake tin with liners. 
  3. Combine the flour, Vitafiber powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl. 
  4. In a large bowl, mix the remaining ingredients with a mixer. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until combined. 
  5. Spoon the batter into each well of the cupcake tin. Fill them about 3/4 of the way. They don't rise much.
  6. Bake for 19-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. 
  7. Allow to cool and frost with desired frosting. Garnish with cinnamon and toasted pecans! 
Frosting recommendations: Cinnamon Vanilla, Cream cheese vanilla, maple cream cheese, caramel pecan. A powdered erythritol is a great option if you want to make a sugar free frosting! 

Makes about 15 cupcakes. 
Macros per cupcake: 103 calories <1f/26c/2p 5g fiber

What's your favorite wintertime dessert flavor? I also love snickerdoodle flavor! Anything cinnamon and I'm in!

Get your Vitafiber powder here: vitafiberimo.com with code: VGMEGANO20 for a discount!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Product Review: Sheila G's Yummy Treats!

Have you heard of Brownie Brittle?



Brownie Brittle is a popular sweet snack that has been around for a while. I'll admit, it never had too much appeal to me because the word "brittle" made me think it would be really hard and crunchy. My parents love it though! 

Recently, I came across some new, fun snacks at my local Publix: Cookie Bites, Brownie Brittle Bites and Thindulgent Chocolate Bark. I had to try them! I then discovered that these products were part of Sheila G's line of snacks! 

I first tried the cookie bites which are essentially crisp cookie bites coated in chocolate and they are sensational! They taste like candy, clock in at only 150 calories per serving but be warned: they are addicting! Having tried these, it makes me want to try the Brownie Brittle bites which are similar - they are crisp brownie brittle pieces coated in chocolate. Coat most anything in chocolate and I'm game. 

Next up was the Thindulgent Chocolate bark. There's just something about chocolate bark that makes it more exciting than a chocolate bar, right? The bark is thinner than a typical chocolate bar and packed with yummy add-ins for a flavor and texture fiesta. The flavors available are Cashew Toffee, Smores, Caramel Pretzel and Dark Chocolate Almond. I tried the Caramel Pretzel and was not disappointed. They sweet and salty combo never fails me and the chocolate was sweet and smooth. It is also made with Fair Trade Certified Chocolate. 

I am excited to try more of the product offerings from Sheila G's because I was so impressed with these! If your local store doesn't carry these items, I would say: request it! You can get a product request form and find out more about Sheila G's treats here: http://browniebrittle.com/

I was provided with free product coupons to sample these products but all opinions are my own.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Winter Bucket List!

If you're anything like me, you vastly prefer the summer.

Short hours of sunlight, frigid temperatures, and dry skin - yeah, winter is just not my thing.

However, since Winter is a thing and it happens every year, I figured I should try to find enjoyment in it. Attitude really does make a difference! Thus, I made a bucket list of fun activities I want to try to incorporate in this winter season!


What's your favorite season? Do you have a winter bucket list?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Feed Your Gut!

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard about PRObiotics. They're a very popular supplement to purchase lately and some even taste downright delicious (enter Smarty Pants Vitamins).

But what are you feeding those lovely little microorganisms in your gut? Isn't it weird to think about that? You're literally consuming living things whether through supplementation or through fermented foods, etc. So we can't starve our little friends! We have to feed them PREbiotics.

So what is a prebiotic and where can you get it? It's a special form of dietary fiber that is indigestible.  It can be found in certain foods and supplements such as:

  • chicory root
  • raw dandelion greens
  • raw garlic
  • raw leeks
  • onion
  • raw asparagus
  • raw wheat bran
  • baked wheat flour
  • raw banana/green banana flour
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • VitaFiber IMO syrup and powder
  • supplements (sometimes it is included in a probiotic supplement)

Now I don't know about you, but it's not every day I'm snacking on raw dandelion greens, ya know? So I love including foods like bananas, onion, garlic, and using VitaFiber in homemade snacks and treats like these muffins: Pumpkin Muffins - Low Sugar, High Fiber

Probiotics and prebiotics work together for optimal gut health. Gut health has such an impact on our overall health and well-being and we can optimize it simply by what we have in our diet! How awesome is that?!

Have you heard of prebiotics? What is your favorite way to get prebiotics in your diet?

If you want to try VitaFiber products to up your prebiotic game, you can check them out here: vitafiberimo.com and use code MEGANO20 for 20% off your purchase!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Soft Gingersnaps - Gluten free and Refined Sugar Free!

Can you believe it's almost December??


I don't know about you, but I am in full on COZY mode. That means fuzzy socks, leggings, and cookie baking!

There is nothing cozier than the aroma of sweet molasses, ginger, and cinnamon wafting from the oven. Gingersnaps embody all the cozy feels. These cozy cookies just also happen to be grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free and have extra fiber.

Wait, there's more! Did you know ginger has been shown to treat nausea, be anti-inflammatory, improve brain function, reduce muscle soreness, may lower blood sugars, and can lower the risk of infections. The other key ingredient in gingersnaps is molasses. Molasses is the lowest in sugar of any sugarcane product and it has vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, selenium, and B6.

So I guess you need these cookies in your life. It's for your health.

Did I mention, no mixer needed? What are you waiting for?

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour 
  • 2 tbsp VitaFiber IMO powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  •  1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 40g or 28mL molasses
  • 1/3 cup granulated sweetener (I used erythritol)
  • additional granulated sweetener for rolling the dough balls in (I used erythritol/monk fruit blend)

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, Vitafiber powder, baking powder, and spices. 
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, almond milk, vanilla, molasses and sweetener. 
  3. Pour the wet into dry and stir until combined thoroughly. 
  4. Chill the dough for about 1 hour in the fridge. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone baking mat (my preferred cookie baking surface). 
  6. Roll the dough into small balls. Roll the balls in granulated sweetener. 
  7. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Immediately upon removing from the oven, use the bottom of a glass to gently flatten the cookies. 
  8. Allow to cool and enjoy!
Makes about 10 cookies. 

*Be sure the sweetener you coat the outside with is a good flavor since this is not mixed into the dough. 
*You could also flatten the cookies before baking but I thought they looked prettier when I flattened them while they were warm.
*Use code: VGMEGANO20 to save on Vitafiber at vitafiberimo.com

What's your favorite cookie to bake in the winter? I'm thinking I will have to make snickerdoodles next!


Monday, November 26, 2018

November Hike of the Month: Moore's Wall Loop Trail

Another month, another hike! Thankfully temperatures haven't dropped too low so we had a nice opportunity for a hike this past weekend.


We chose to go to a nearby State Park that we  have hiked at before - Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina. They have several trails that we have yet to explore. One of those trails was the Moore's Wall Loop trail.

You will need to drive to the lake area and follow a sign for Moore's Wall. The trail is marked with red circles. It also follows along with the Mountains to Sea trail for a while.

The trail is 4.3 miles with a rating of strenuous. We took the counterclockwise route which has you going up natural stairs and the way down is more meandering. The top of the hike features a lookout tower where you can see other nearby mountains and there is also a "Balancing Rock".

The trail was okay but I'm not a huge fan of so much downhill. Other than the vista features at the top, there wasn't much to look at besides trees.

Overall, I don't think it was a bad trail but I think it was a little forgettable. I probably prefer the Hanging Rock trail at this park!

Have you ever done a forgettable hike? What makes hikes stand out to you?

I can't believe we only have one more hike to go! Check out more about the hikes at Hanging Rock State Park here: https://www.ncparks.gov/hanging-rock-state-park/trail/moores-wall-loop-trail



Wednesday, November 21, 2018

How Much Protein Do I Need?

You need protein!

It seems like this is what everyone hears, especially when they start exercising. But how much protein do you truly need? Are you getting enough or too much?

There have been many studies and the gist of it is: the upper limit of benefit is .82g/lb i.e. a 150lb person does not gain any benefit from eating more than 123 grams of protein per day. 

Take your weight: y 
Multiply by .82
= your MAXimum protein in grams. 

So what does 123 g of protein look like?

Greek Yogurt : 12-15g 

4 oz chicken breast: 35g

Enlightened Ice Cream Pint: 28g

2 oz Turkey lunch meat: 12g

Square Organics Bar: 10-12g

2 tbsp Almond Butter: 6g

Totals: 105g protein 

Remember, there is protein in many foods, even bread and vegetables. These are just some of the higher protein foods I might consume in a single day. 

So many people who are "into" fitness consume plenty of protein, maybe even too much (topic for another day?), however, others who don't make a concerted effort to prioritize protein may not be eating as much as is optimal. Keep in mind these are generic numbers and everyone is different. Be mindful of what makes you feel good and perform well and be sure to choose protein sources that you personally digest well. 

Do you think you are eating enough protein? 

Square Organics Discount Code: HHF squareorganics.com
My favorite is Cookie Dough!

Check out this article for more of the scientific studies on optimal protein intake: https://bayesianbodybuilding.com/the-myth-of-1glb-optimal-protein-intake-for-bodybuilders/

Monday, November 19, 2018

GIVEAWAY of My Favorite Snacks!

Heyooo, it's a giveaway!

I want to give back to you so I compiled some of my favorite snacks from my pantry to give one of you some tasty snacks! One caveat, I tried matcha and wasn't a fan lol but I know other people seem to love it!

What's the prize?


  • 3 RX bars - these are made with real food and I think they are chewy and delicious!
  • RX nut butter squeeze packets - these are so good! I am in love!
  • Square Organics Cookie Dough bar - you should know by now I love Square Organics and Cookie Dough is one of my favorite flavors!
  • Cocoa Bar In a Jar Squeeze packet - these taste so good, like a squeezable peanut butter cup!
  • Wild Friends Squeeze packet - These make a great oatmeal topper for traveling! 
  • Birthday Cake Eat Me Guilt Free Blondie - These blondies actually amaze me. 
  • True Lemon Peach Lemonade - I love true lemon mixes but I'm not a big peach person so when I got a sampler pack, I thought I would share this with someone else. 
  • Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen - I use collagen every day!
  • Farm and Oven Sampler Pack - These bakery bites are so tasty and have hidden veggies!
  • Enlightened Sriracha roasted beans - I love these for a little on-the-go snack or salad topper!



Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday Finds!

Welcome to this weeks round up of finds!

My Bite Vitamins - Okay, so you've had gummy vitamins, chewy vitamins, etc. But have you ever had chocolate with a whipped caramel center? They have a variety of vitamins from multivitamins to melatonin to bone support and more. I tried the D vitamin so far and also have the calcium. They taste delicious! They taste like a chocolate nougat filled candy and it makes me look forward to taking my vitamin every day! They are sold at Target. If you like your vitamins to taste good, I would recommend these. Check them out here: https://mybitevitamins.com/

Nekstella - It's a healthy nutella! I've been interested in trying this product for some time and finally got the chance. They actually have a variety of low carb/low sugar products but I was primarily interested in their chocolate hazelnut spread and it did not disappoint! It tasted delicious, spreads easily, and has great nutrition statistics. Check out nekstella's products here: https://nekstella.com/

Girls Gone WOD podcast - I've listened to this podcast here and there, but as someone who doesn't do CrossFit, some of the topics didn't particularly interest me. However, now they are releasing two episodes a week - one with just Joy and Claire chatting and I am loving it. They are so fun and easy to listen to and certified Mean Girls fanatics. Check them out: girlsgonewodpodcast.com


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - No Mixer Required!

Peanut butter, chocolate - great when separate but when they combine they make the morning time anytime happen. Who sang that to the tune of the old Reese's puff cereal commercial? You are my people.

I digress. The point is peanut butter and chocolate are a classic combination and they make for a delicious cookie! These cookies also have the added gut-health benefits of prebiotic fiber and reduced sugar by using stevia/sugar baking blends. There's no mixer required! These cookies are almost too easy.


Ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar/stevia baking blend
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar/stevia baking blend
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup VitaFiber IMO powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar free chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the egg, sugar blends, vanilla  and peanut butter. Whisk to combine. 
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, VitaFiber powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine. 
  3. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips. 
  4. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours. 
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, cooking spray or use a silicone baking mat (silicone baking mat is my preferred method for cookies).
  6. Roll the cookie dough into tall balls. Making the balls taller means thicker cookies! Place on prepared baking sheet. 
  7. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until golden brown. 
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Enjoy! 
Makes about 10 cookies. 

I've heard that fiber also keeps your blood glucose from spiking. I have no way to measure this for myself but if you try these cookies and test your blood glucose - let me know the results! 


You can purchase VitaFiber powder here: vitafiberimo.com and use code: MEGANO20 for 20% off! 



Sunday, November 11, 2018

Homemade Sugar Free Caramel Syrup

It's National Sundae Day and it's a Sunday! How perfect. So you need some caramel syrup to top your sundae! Sugar free syrup almost sounds like an oxymoron but it is possible!

And it tastes delicious!

It's rich, it's sweet, and it's so easy! Let's get straight to the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp ghee butter 
  • 80 g Vita Fiber IMO syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar substitute (I used Sukrin erythritol brown)
  • 1/4 canned coconut milk 

Directions

  1. Heat the coconut milk until bubbling. 
  2. Stir in the Vitafiber syrup and ghee butter until combined. 
  3. Stir in the brown sweetener and add more if you would like a thicker consistency. 
  4. Store in the fridge, it will need to be stirred when you go to use it as the fat separates a bit. 
This sauce is so delicious! I used it on ice cream and popcorn but the possibilities are endless! What will you use this on? Do you say car-mel or care-a-mel?

You can get VitaFiber Syrup for 20% off vitafiberimo.com with code: VGMEGANO20 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

MedAssist 5k (Pancakes and Beer) 2018

I haven't done a 5k in a hot second.

Okay, since the summer.

The MedAssist 5k in Charlotte, NC rolled around again and I decided to run it! My mom ran it too!

I was nervous as I always am. I don't know why! I run 3-4 miles on a regular basis but, nevertheless, I was anxious!

I had a bagel and hot cocoa to start the morning, then headed to the race venue about 45 minutes from my house. We registered, used the bathroom, and had energy drinks!

It was pretty chilly and spit some raindrops but thankfully, the rain did not persist.

The race started just a few minutes behind schedule. There were about 600+ participants. We lined up and were off! The race is on streets that had one lane blocked off for us. I had enough space but if you were caught in a pack, it would probably be tight.

There were no extreme hills - probably the biggest incline was at the very end with the finish line in sight.

My first 1/4 mile, I had a pace of 6:44! I knew that wasn't sustainable but I figured I would ride out the downhills on cruise control! My pace, shockingly stayed under 7:00 the entire time! I was thrilled! I knew I must be doing pretty well because there were no females in sight.

Me end pace according to the race timing company was 6:55 which is my fastest pace to date. I placed first in my age group and second overall female. I was so excited!

The prize was a beer glass but the feeling of setting a personal best far exceeds any prize!

I can't wait to run another 5k!

Have you ever run a 5k? Have you ever surprised yourself with what you can do?









Monday, November 5, 2018

October Hike of the Month - Massie Gap, VA


 We got October's hike of the month done in the last weekend of October!

We headed to Grayson Highlands State Park just across the Virginia border for a chance to see the infamous wild ponies as we hiked Massie Gap. 
















The weather was a bit cooler than expected but I was prepared with gloves and layers! The sun was shining and we were ready to go. 

We crossed a field to the start of the Rhododendron trail where we saw wild ponies right away! They were not afraid of us at all! They even hiked with us for a moment! 😂

We took a right turn onto the Appalachian trail. This portion was very wet and rocky - it seemed like we were hiking in a stream bed! We passed several rock outcroppings. Then we took another right turn onto the Appalachian Spur Trail. This went through more forest surroundings. Then a right onto a horse trail to complete the loop. 

The whole loop was just around 2 miles so we headed to the Visitor Center and did a short hike from there. We did the Twin Pinnacles trail which is just 1.3 miles with two pinnacle overlooks and a "magic tree". It had great views for such a short trail! 

Overall, I liked the sights and views a lot. As far as the actual hiking, I preferred the terrain of the second trail. 

It's been fun trying a diversity of hikes this year and I can't believe there's only two months left! The wild ponies were definitely a highlight!

Would you hike with wild ponies? We were a little bit afraid! 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

How Sweet It Is - Natural Sweetener


Raise your hand if you have a sweet tooth!

I see you. 

I have a sweet tooth or two. However, I do try to watch my sugar intake for optimal health. I do keep a balance but try to find healthy options to satisfy my sweet tooth sometimes. 

I've used several natural sweeteners and I was excited to discover a new option: Sukrin!

They make a few different options but I had the privilege of trying the "icing" sweetener, the granulated and the brown. These sweeteners measure 1:1 to sugar which makes swapping them in recipes so easy! 

These sweeteners are primarily erythritol based which is a natural sweetener. It had no weird aftertaste. The brown sweetener shocked me at how closely it resembled and smelled like brown sugar! I made brown sugar cinnamon toast like I used to eat as a child. 

The icing sweetener - what we might refer to as powdered - was also great! The texture and flavor was spot on. It seemed a bit more solid in the clumps than traditional powdered sugar, however, it crumbled apart easily. I used this for extra sweetness in my protein fluff and to top off healthy French Toast! It was great! I would love to use this for some healthy frosting recipes!

The granulated sweetener is a great, simple sugar replacement. Keep in mind, though, that some baked goods rely on the chemistry of sugar so you may need to use caution when making substitutions in baked recipes. 

I used icing sweetener in this caramel dip!
I really loved these sweeteners and look forward to trying more of their products. I think they will make creating "healthier" treats so much fun!

Sukrin is a Scandinavian company with a United States branch. They also have sugar free chocolate, gluten free pasta, syrups, spreads, other sweeteners and more! Check them out here: https://sukrinusa.com/

What's your favorite sweet treat? I love ice cream and chocolate!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Dip! High Protein and Fiber, Zero Sugar!

My mom and I have a yearly tradition of going to the apple orchard to pick apples. I love apples but when you have a ton (okay, just a peck), you might want to get creative with your apple snacking!



That's where Salted Caramel Cheesecake Dip comes in!

It sounds decadent (it is) but it's also:
  • super easy - it comes together in minutes
  • fiber
  • protein
  • no added sugar

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz cream cheese (I used fat free)
  • 1/2 tsp caramel flavoring
  • 1 tbsp Vitafiber IMO syrup
  • 1/4 cup powdered erythritol (I used Sukrin icing sweetener, measures 1:1 to powdered sugar)
  • sea salt to taste

Directions

  1. Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, caramel flavor, and powdered sweetener. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. 
  2. Add the fiber syrup and continue to beat. 
  3. Add sea salt, you may sprinkle on top or stir it in. 
  4. Enjoy!
This dip would also be delicious with pretzels or strawberries or just on it's own! 

Makes 4 servings. Macros per serving: 69 cal 0f/11c/8p  (2.3 g fiber)

Do you have any fun fall traditions?