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I ♥ Michigan

August 20, 2010
Yesterday, CD stayed in Fife Lake to work, and I drove the 25 miles to Traverse City solo. First, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Sarah from Savoring Sarah for a delicious lunch at Old Town Coffee.
I took Sarah’s advice and ordered the Little Buddha Wrap made with Brownwood Farms Famous Kream Mustard, a locally produced mustard.  We sat outside for over an hour soaking in the sunshine while enjoying great food and conversation.
Sarah is a northern Michigan native and filled me in on her home state. Honestly, I can’t get over how beautiful this area is, and I kept telling Sarah how much CD and I were enjoying our time here. In fact, we’re thinking of skipping out on Colorado and coming back to Michigan next summer. As much as I love the Colorado Rockies, Michigan has proven to be the perfect vacation spot. We love the weather, and I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy being so close to the water.  Thanks again for a wonderful lunch Sarah.  It was so nice to meet you, and hopefully, I’ll get to see you again next summer…Oh, and the hummus wrap was an excellent choice…must have been the mustard. 🙂
I then walked up the street to Oryana, the health food coop CD and I visited last time we were in town. There I met up with Katie, founder and president of Naturally Nutty Foods Inc., for some more samples of her wonderful nut butters, and you can expect some giveaways when I return home to Nashville. Thanks Katie – I LOVE your products and can’t wait to spread the Naturally Nutty love…OK, that’s kind of a lie. Part of me really wants to keep all the samples for myself, but I promise to share. 🙂
It was then time to go home, and on the way out of town, I stopped by Morsels, recommended to me by reader Claudine…Actually, that would be another lie as I had to drive a few blocks out of my way to get there…but so worth it!
A bite-sized bakery?  Brilliant concept, no?

I chose a carrot cake and a chocolate flourless cake morsel.
The little cakes were the perfect size and tasted so fresh.  Thanks for the tip Claudine!

By the time I arrived back to our cottage in Fife Lake, it was late afternoon. CD was working from the library, and so I leashed up the pups for an hour long trail walk. When I got home, CD and I busted into the Naturally Nutty samples.  I had a bowl of vanilla protein oats (I used a clean Naturally Nutty jar as my bowl since the place we’re staying only has plastic bowls, and I’m not a fan of putting hot food in plastic.) topped with Chocolate Butter Toffee Peanut Butter and Vanilla Almond Butter.
CD simply made a bowl of out of the Vanilla Almond Butter jar and topped it with a few chocolate chips…
How could I not love this boy?!? And no, he did not eat the whole jar. 🙂

Not sure what today holds, but I’m about to start it off with a walk.  Have you ever been to northern Michigan? If not, I highly recommend it. The local nut butters and mustard are worth the drive alone. 😉

Something Old, Something New

August 19, 2010

I’ve been loving the classic combo of nut butter + strawberry jelly lately. It just never gets old, right BroccoliHut? 🙂

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Great Harvest raisin walnut toast. One slice topped with Naturally Nutty cinnamon vanilla sunflower butter and the other with butter and Trader Joe’s reduced strawberry preserves.

This morning I woke up hoping to take the dogs on a long walk on the snowmobile trails, but it’s raining. However, I can’t complain as we’ve had sunshine almost everyday since arriving in Michigan. So, instead of our walk, I fixed myself a hearty and delicious breakfast inspired by Gena’s Peacefood Cafe sandwich.  I wanted more raisin walnut toast, but I also had half a leftover sweet potato that I wanted to eat, which lead to the following…

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Sweet potato + mashed avocado + herbed goat cheese on raisin walnut toast. Now, that’s my kind of sandwich!

Want to know where the other half of that baked sweet potato went?????

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Straight into the waning sunflower butter jar for a little evening snack last night. YUM!

It’s still raining and so no walk, at least for now. I lifted weights yesterday, and perhaps the weather is telling me I need a day off…however, I think the pups disagree.

Hope you enjoy your Thursday. I’m off to Traverse City for 2 special meet-ups today. One of them might involve some nut butter for my HEABers. 😉

P.S. HEAB is undergoing some changes over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned, and if the blog goes down, please know that it will be back soon. Also, I still plan to blog everyday. So, if all of a sudden, my posts are no longer showing up in Google Reader, please re-subscribe as I would be sad to lose any of you!

Bad Fats?

August 18, 2010

Every time I write a post on fats, people always respond that they love their good or healthy fats, but I think my idea of good fat is probably a bit different from most other food bloggers out there. Trans fats? Very bad, but saturated fats? Nah, I like them. 🙂

I used to use cooking spray oil, canola oil, Smart Balance, etc., but I haven’t touched any of that stuff in a while. (Does anyone else have a problem with cooking spray oil ruining their pots and pans?). Now I stick to mostly butter, ghee, and coconut oil for all my baking and cooking. I mean if you think about it, all 3 have been around for years, and were used by our ancestors…before the rise of heart disease or the obesity epidemic we have on our hands today. Modern day canola oil, cooking spray oil, Smart Balance, etc…they are all highly processed and have been around just a few years in the relative scheme of things. Wouldn’t you rather stick with the real stuff? I know I’m always HEABifying my meals, desserts, etc., but when it comes to fats, my rule of thumb is to eat them the way nature intended us to…

like real butter…

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Yesterday’s breakfast: A few small slices of toasted Great Harvest raisin walnut bread with Naturally Nutty nut butters and one big slice smeared with butter and Trader Joe’s reduced sugar strawberry preserves. Butter and jam…really, does it get any better?

Or how about some bacon?

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Yesterday’s lunch: Heated brown rice tortilla stuffed with mashed avocado, mustard, bacon, and deli turkey slices fried alongside bacon. Bacon makes everything better. 🙂

Dinner involved bacon as well…

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Veggies stir-fried with bacon and topped with herbed goat cheese. Delicious!

I know, I know…bacon and butter are high in cholesterol. Coconut oil is nothing but saturated fat. They’ll all cause heart disease and are “bad” fats. I’m not going to get into the science here on HEAB, but I encourage and challenge each of you to question conventional wisdom when it comes to your health. Compare the way our ancestors looked to the way people in society look now…quite a difference, no? All I know is that my grandpa milked his own cows and churned his own butter, and there was no skimming the fat off anything. He worked hard and lived a long life. He was not overweight, did not develop Type II Diabetes, and never had heart problems. I don’t know…just something to think about.

I’ll leave you with an updated belly photo. 27 weeks down and only 13 more to go. The HEABlet is growing and kicking like crazy and now weighs over 2 pounds. I already love her so much. 🙂

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HEAB Electrified

August 17, 2010

The power is back! We had an electrician here all day yesterday working on repairing the power lines – he had to move the electric box or something. Then the power company showed up and by 4 PM, we had lights and water. I laughed with joy when I turned on the faucet in the kitchen sink and there was water. I immediately washed all our dirty dishes while CD went straight to the TV to catch up on football news. Typical. 🙂

After yesterday’s perverse oats and my cardio metabolic circuit from Lindsey, I decided I needed protein and veggies for lunch. However, without power, that wasn’t happening. So, after Chris finished up some work and checked in with his office from the local library (he’s able to work from Michigan as long as we have Internet), I leashed up the pups and walked up to the Loon’s Nest Restaurant to meet him for lunch.

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I ordered the chicken salad minus the sweet dressing, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and dried cherries. Really people, I wanted chicken salad, not a fruit salad. It was perfect and so filling. I find that I get so full these days…I think it’s just the HEABlet taking up room down below. 🙂

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Chicken salad, heavy on the cashews, just the way I like it!

Since we had guys working all over the house yesterday, CD and I decided to spend the afternoon down by the water with the dogs. It was such a nice day – sunny and in the 70’s, and I love getting to spend the afternoons with my hubby. Plus, I think school is now back in session as we practically had the whole little beach to ourselves. Such a peaceful day.

After getting back home and discovering we had electricity, CD went to the grocery store. He arrived home with lots of yummy veggies, and I immediately made myself a big stir-fry with butter, cabbage slaw mix, Brussels sprouts, onions, and celery. I then topped it with some of the goat cheese Carolyn brought us. It was just what I needed!

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As much as I love oats and other various forms of carbs, if I don’t get in some greens and protein, I just feel gross and over-carbed. Do you get that way?

Today’s workout was an early morning long walk with the dogs followed by a long hot shower…I love indoor plumbing. 🙂

PS – Carolyn, the butter and cheese from The Boulevard Market are both amazing!

A Visit With Reader Carolyn

August 16, 2010

There are several readers of HEAB that I have become good friends with via the Internet, and one of them is Carolyn. Carolyn, I’m not even really sure when we started emailing each other – maybe last spring or summer? Anyway, I consider her a very close friend and confidant, and yesterday, Chris and I had the privilege of finally meeting Carolyn and her husband, Paul, in person. They live in southern Michigan and drove up to Fife Lake to hang out yesterday, and although it was the first time we’d ever actually met in person, I felt like we were all old friends.

Who is Reader Carolyn you ask? Well, she is the brilliant mind behind both the Chipotle Almond Butter as well as the infamous Vajayjay Cake in honor of the HEABlet. Remember that one? 😉

I’ll let the photos from yesterday do all the talking…

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Me & Carolyn

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Check out all the goodies Carolyn brought us. There was also a bag of TJ’s oat bran and 2 containers of almond milk that did not make it in the photo as I can’t find either around here.

Carolyn, we love you!

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Me & CD at breakfast with Paul and Carolyn at the Loon’s Nest Restaurant. I ordered a veggie omelet with sausage.

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Post lunch, the men walked the dogs (Paul and Carolyn brought their dog Nina to visit)

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while the women sat around talking. 🙂 It was a gorgeous day outside!

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Then came time to say our goodbyes, but I’m already looking forward to seeing these guys next year!

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On their way out of town, Carolyn and Paul stopped at the Dairy Bar. Paul had a cake batter flurry and Carolyn ordered the no sugar added pecan. Oh, and I should mention that it was Paul’s birthday yesterday. Happy Birthday Paul! I had all the ingredients to make him brownies, but we are still without electricity…and water. 😦

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Meanwhile, while Carolyn and Paul were enjoying their ice-cream, I was attacking the Great Harvest Extreme Cinnamon bread with some goat cheese gouda. Amazing.

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Since we were powerless and waterless, I made a bowl of overnight protein chia oats early in the afternoon to eat for dinner. A few hours later, after the mix had thickened up, I added 1 scoop of Jay Robb’s chocolate rice protein powder and topped things off with one spoonful of Naturally Nutty Pepita Sun Seed Butter, aka pumpkin pie in a jar and one spoonful of Naturally Nutty Chocolate Butter Toffee Peanut Butter. This tasted more like a dessert rather than dinner, but nothing wrong with that, right? I knew we still wouldn’t have power this morning, and so I went ahead and prepared another bowl of overnight protein chia oats for today’s breakfast using filtered water from our neighbors. After an early morning walk with the pups, I came home, added a scoop of Jay Robb’s vanilla rice protein powder to my bowl along with a few strawberry Whoppers. I present to you my bowl of…

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Vajayjay Oats…hehe, I’m really not a perv, I promise!

OK, I know strawberry Whoppers have not one ounce of nutritional value, but let me tell you, they taste delicious atop a bowl of vanilla oatmeal! 🙂

Carolyn and Paul, thanks again for driving all the way to Fife Lake to see us. We had a wonderful day yesterday, and honestly, I can’t wait to see you both again next year!!!

Do you have any good online friends that you’ve never actually met in person? I used to think that whole concept sounded kind of creepy, but since starting my blog, I feel I have gotten to be so close with many of you, even though we’ve never met. It’s been the most rewarding aspect of blogging!

Out And About

August 15, 2010

Yesterday, CD and I spent the afternoon small town hopping in Michigan and had the best time.

First we drove to Sutton’s Bay, and by the time we got there, I was starving since it was past 2 PM, and I hadn’t eaten since 8:30 that morning. So we stopped at O’Keefe’s Firehouse Pub, and I ordered the lamb gyro with a side salad. The Irish cook up a mean gyro. Who knew? 😉

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We then made our way to Leland and walked around Fishtown, a tiny preserved fishing village, after so many of you recommended it. Oh my gosh – so cute. Probably my favorite place we’ve visited thus far.

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Look Erin, we even found the Village Cheese Shanty, but I was too full of lamb to get a sandwich. Next time for sure!

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Our Next stop was Northport where they were holding their annual wine festival. We skipped out on the vino and walked along the beach instead.

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This is lake Michigan…I had no idea how clear and beautiful the water would be!

We arrived back in Fife Lake around 7 PM only to learn that our little cottage was without power after a neighbor’s tree branch fell on the power lines. In fact, we still don’t have power and probably won’t until sometime tomorrow. We’re also out of water now…I’m trying to think of it as our little camping adventure. We’ll survive.

So, without any electricity, dinner options were limited…

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I fixed myself a big bowl of Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal with tepid almond milk, a very ripe plum, and a blob of Naturally Nutty Vanilla Cinnamon Sunbutter. Not too exciting, but it did the job. I ate the same thing for breakfast this morning, leaving us with nothing in our cabinet or fridge but nut butter and chocolate chips. I think I can work with that. 😉

Despite living without modern conveniences, Chris and I have managed to have a great day. We had two very special visitors, but more about that in tomorrow’s post. We’re now off to enjoy the afternoon sunshine. I can only blog & email at the local library, and so I probably won’t be checking back in until tomorrow. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

What’s the longest you’ve ever been without power? For me, I think it was about 3 days after a bad ice storm in Nashville. Our house was soooo cold. Definitely not a fun camping adventure!

How Much Nut Butter Is Too Much?

August 14, 2010

Thanks for all the positive input on yesterday’s post: Why I Eat The Way I Do. I don’t know why it took me so long to write that post as I always get asked about my diet. Another question I often get is, How much nut butter do you eat, and how much should I eat? So, let’s talk nut butter, shall we?

Some days, I don’t even open the nut butter jar, but most days I eat at least one or two servings if not more, yesterday being a prime example. There was much nut butter consumed by yours truly, and I blame Naturally Nutty. 🙂

There was breakfast:

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2 eggs with a toasted cinnamon raisin English muffin, 1/2 topped with Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter and the other 1/2 topped with Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Almond Chia Seed Butter (a soon to be released flavor).

I think the almond butter is my favorite out of the two. It spreads so easily, and I’m guessing that’s due to the addition of palm fruit oil. Plus, it has a stronger cinnamon/vanilla flavor. That being said, the sunflower butter is still really yummy. In fact, I can’t seem to get enough of either…which brings us to lunch.

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Cooked spinach with crumbled goat cheese and an oven baked sweet potato the size of my head topped with both Naturally Nutty nut butters. A delicious and filling meal!

Dinner was uneventful – probably involved some veggies or something. So, let’s move onto dessert, shall we? I’ve been skipping out on the Dairy Bar because too much dairy does not sit well with me, but last night, I decided to join CD in a little ice-cream lovin. Before walking out the door, I grabbed what was left of our almond chia seed butter sample jar…

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ICIAJ (Ice-Cream In A Jar)

I ordered a small butter pecan ice-cream and immediately loaded it into the almond butter jar. Yes, I got a few weird stares, especially when I started taking photos of my masterpiece, but I didn’t care. Totally worth it!

So, let’s see, that was about 6 servings of almond butter yesterday. Again, that’s not something I do all the time, but I just happen to incorporate it into every meal. Quite proud of myself actually. 😉

Did it again for breakfast this morning…

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Toasted whole grain wrap with mashed avocado, sliced banana, and Trader Joe’s unsalted crunchy peanut butter.

So, how much nut butter is the right amount? Again, that’s another question I can’t answer for you. Some people can handle more than others. I know I’m always saying don’t fear fat, but you should keep in mind that foods high in fat are normally pretty calorically dense as well. In other words, enjoy your nut butter…just eat responsibly, and if nut butter is a trigger food for you, then don’t buy it.

Have you tried the avocado + banana + nut butter combo yet? If not, do it…today…I dare ya! 🙂