Tag Archives: chocolate

March Foodie Pen pal!!!!

It is that time again!!!!  The time of the month (no, not that time of the month) where I receive a very exciting package in the mail!!!  I get my foodie pen pal goodie box.  This is now something that I get so excited about!!  I love trying new things and seeing what people come up with to send me!!  I received wonderful goodies this month…so without further ado…



It was a great balance of local  yummy items and delicious chocolate to feed my 24/7 cravings!!!  Of course, we opened it in the car after our speed run, which meant we had to taste test every little thing we saw!!!  First I went right for the granola…a huge favorite of mine!


I loved the cranberry orange pecan…it was a nice mixture of flavors and I will be adding it to my yogurt for sure!!!!  The Vanilla Almond will be making it’s way into my tofu pudding that I just made a huge batch  of!!


I busted open the pretzels for Eric to try out first!  They were a thumbs up and were also a yummy treat for Gavin as well.  He loved them.  I have to hold off on my chocolate indulgences, so I will be waiting until Sunday to try a few and make them into a nice little trail mixture with my new granola and some yummy yogurt!  The Clif bars will be gladly used for my post long runs!  I am not sure which to eat first…I think I will take half of each and then I get the best of both!!


This chocolate bar was totally different than anything I have ever tried!! It had a hint of lime to it, and it was actually a nice little blend!!  It had some sort of kick to it while still being sweet!!  The truffles are going to be the death of me!!


These received a huge squeal of delight!!  Some local yummies for me to bake up and enjoy!  It is a Double Chocolate Scone Mix, then a Chocolate Dessert Mix, plus a Chocolate Raspberry Spread!!  I think I need to make sure all three of these go together!  I plan to bake the scones for Easter morning and then add the sauce for a nice little dipping action!!!  Oh, so many yummy snacks and treats to enjoy!!!  A huge thank you to my foodie pen pal who sent me this wonderful package!!!  Now, to sign up for April!!  Hooray! 


Seriously, you need to give this a try!!  Click on the button in my side bar or on the link above!!!!


FOODIE PENPAL!!!!! Hooray!!!!

I was so excited to take part in this program, mostly because I love having pen pals, but also because I love healthy new finds!!  We are limited with what we can get over here, and so any healthy goodness that comes from the states is always welcome in a very over-dramatic and excitable fashion!!!  I was so lucky to get hooked up with a pal who is also a military wife and mom of two great kids!  She totally came through and hooked me up BIG TIME!!!!


As we know, I am a huge fan of chocolate, granola, oatmeal, chocolate, grains, green tea, chocolate, etc!!!  I swear, this package was seriously 100% bang on with things I am now in love with.  There is literally NOTHING in this package that I can get here!!!  That makes me really excited, because it is all new and all a treat!  My hub could barely get a clear picture because I was bouncing around and cheering like a total loser foodie!!



We are in love with the granola, and he is in love with the spicy goods that were sent just for him (how sweet is that??!!).  I have already enjoyed the oatmeal, and it was super good!!!!  I am actually going to hoard it so I can have it for my next half marathon!  I might have to order some on-line!  There were delicious single servings of trail mix, Lara bars, Dove chocolate, THEN packages of flavored quinoa, veggie rotini noodles and couscous!!!! I was in foodie heaven!!!




We are going to dig into the couscous and quinoa this week and then the pasta this weekend!  It could probably be seen as pathetic how excited I am about this!  I am literally saving the Lara Bars because I know once I eat them they will be gone…yes, that really does sound pathetic!  Oh well, I am sure there are others out there who get equally excited and pathetic about new foodie finds!  In the meantime, I have a new pen pal (not just a one time thing, hooray) and that excites me!  I am a lover of sending mail and handwritten letters, so a permanent pal is always a heart warming addition to my life! Now, we prepare for Spring (3 consecutive days of nice weather…) and look forward to being outdoors!!!!




What was your most exciting part of the weekend???

Can change be a bad thing?

So since we are in TLF (Temporary Living Facility) AKA: hotel room, there is some trouble getting settled and keeping to your regular eating pattern.  Last week, I had a few days of just eating what was around since we were without groceries and were running all over town each day.  As I always learn from these situations, I end up feeling gross.  This inconvenience left me bloated, tired and cranky.  None of which were good for me or my family!

My family likes 'Happy Amanda" not "Cranky, Sick Bellied Amanda"


Sunday night I was laying  in bed with a tummy ache from something I had eaten about 8 hours prior.  How can something keep my belly feeling sick for that long?  Well, when you are not used to eating greasy or heavy foods, your body becomes very slow at digesting/processing them!  Was it good while I was eating it….honestly, yes!  Were the after effects worth it…NO!!  I felt miserable!  I vowed that I was going to eat what would make me FEEL good this week.  If I wanted some chocolate, I would have it, but I would eat it earlier in the day and with something healthy.  If I wanted something greasy I would really think about how twisted my guts get afterwards.  So how has this been fairing out?  Great!!  I have some healthy eats that have brought me back to normal, AND treats to keep me satisfied!

1L of water, Gala apple, PB2 and apple toasted sandwich on wheat!

  I have an Easter Bunny my dad brought me from Canada.  1/3 of it is 5pts+.  I break that 1/3 in half and then it is 2pts+ , which is also enough to usually get me through a craving since it is so sweet!  I had some yesterday and it really did not make me feel sick or guilty!  I wanted tacos the other night, so I made them.  I used the leanest beef, low-card whole wheat tortillas, and WW shredded cheese.  I stopped when I was satisfied and for once I did not feel sick after eating them (moderation)!!  I love chocolate (as I have mentioned) so I got some chocolate/vanilla frozen yogurt that I mix with berries and bananas for 3pts+.  I am enjoying some sweets,  but also my veggie/fruit intake has gone up since there is great fresh produce here!  I get the best of both worlds because I can mix them together and really just enjoy them!

A yogurt bowl with berries, bananas, almonds and SF syrup for sweetness!


Chicken, grilled peppers, asparagus, carrots, toasted pita and hummus

The best part of the week so far?  I have not felt sick, my belly is not bloated anymore, and I am resting better!  Those three things are enough for me to put down those extra slices of pizza (1 0r 2 are fine when I want them), and think about how I want to FEEL after I eat.  Treats are great, but not when they leave you a cranky, irritable mama or wife!  The boys have spoken- indulge in small amounts because the change to eating what’s around was NOT a good change!!!

Sorry bunnies, but I am eating you 1/6th at a time...this is probably how you will end up!

Can you handle greasy treats here and there?  If you change-up your eating style for a day or two, how does it leave you feeling?  What foods make you FEEL great?

Single Chocolate Berry Cake in a Cup!

Today is all about some yummy eats and a new goal that I achieved!!  I ran my first 4 miles today!!!  I took last week off to just strength train my legs…everyday!  No cardio, only strength training!  It paid off, and I decided to come up with a lovely healthy treat to celebrate my great start to my last Monday in Okinawa!


I was so eager to get to the gym this morning for my first run after the goal of NOT running last week.  I was determined to rest the shin and really get some more strength to my legs!  I could feel a difference and wanted to see how that worked into my run.  I took it to the treadmill and was constantly shocked and excited about how great my legs felt!  No dead legs, shin pain, foot pain…nothing!  PLUS, it was my first run with the new Nike Free Run+…LOVE THEM!!!  They were great, and the feet felt light and airy…not heavy and hot!  When I got to mile 3, I was literally giggling because I could not believe how great I still felt.  I pushed it hard and plan to go for another 4 miles on Wednesday!!  Now for breakfast:

My new cereal mix-up, scrambled eggbeaters/egg whites, fresh fruit in a cup!

My new cereal mix-up, scrambled eggbeaters/egg whites, fresh fruit in a cup!

I made a protein filled cereal bowl!  I wanted to get extra protein in where ever I could fit it!  For my new cereal mix-up (AKA: healthy Cocoa Puffs) I mixed:

  • 1/2c Kix
  • 1/4c Flax Grain Cereal
  • 1/3c Go Lean
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa

I shook them up in a baggie (and even made 5 more bags so they are ready to go for this hectic week) and then I added 1/3c unsweetened almond milk, plus some of my fruit. 

SOOOOO Good! I am now addicted to these since I have to lay off the oats a bit!

The fruit had kiwi, blueberries, banana, raspberries, apple and 1Tbsp walnuts that I chopped up!  This was YUM!!  For an extra tangy taste mix up 1tsp of honey and 1Tbsp lime juice plus a sprinkle of stevia…pour over top!

Fruit in a glass

Okay, now time for my treat!  I love reading about different single portion cakes, cupcakes, breads, and so on!  Finally I decided to go for one other than the brownie I always resort to!  I wanted chocolate, of course, so I whipped out some goods:

The ingredients

 Single Chocolate Berry Cake in a Cup:

  • 1/3 cup egg beaters
  • 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1/8 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Stevia (not shown, sorry)
  • 1.5 tsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 Hershey dark chocolate kiss or a few dark chocolate chips

Mix all items and put in a glass sprayed with cooking spray.  Put half of the Hershey Kiss (all chopped up) or a few chocolate chips on top. 

Ready for the microwave

Microwave in 30 second intervals, being sure it doesn’t ‘overflow’ (mine did, damn loaner glasses that are too small).  Microwave for a total of 1:30 or more if you need to.   Let sit for about a minute and then tip into a bowl.  I cut mine up a bit to let the steam out.  Add some semi-frozen greek yogurt sweetened with stevia, the remaining chocolate bits (or chips) and some berries (mine were frozen strawberries that I thawed out with stevia).  The result: a totally yummy alternative to fatty/sugary/empty calorie cake that you would get at the store. 

Tastes great, AND you can name all of the ingredients 🙂

Hope you all had a great Monday like this girl!!  Tomorrow is  the day of pure non-stop preparation for our move.  We officially move out of our house tomorrow, into billeting and that means emptying out the pantry and fridge…sigh!  It should be an eventful, exhausting and jam-packed Tuesday…all steps toward our new adventures, gotta love every second 🙂

How did you spend your Monday?  How do you plan to spend your Tuesday?  Any cereal mix-ups that you love to create?

The search for healthy guts…part 2

Well, that was fun!  Not really, but I am trying to keep that positive attitude about the whole thing…that goal went out the window for about 30 minutes after the procedure!  The Hub had to put me in check for a minute, and so now I can move on from being a Negative Nancy about the results.

Had to throw in a joke, just for fun 😉

I got to the hospital and there was a 35 minute wait because all of the ‘waiting beds’ were full.  I stayed in the other waiting room and curled up on the coach in between bathroom visits.  When I went back to the waiting beds I was happy to get a pretty cool newbie taking care of me!  I got a blanket right out of the heater and some good conversation about Germany (he was raised there).  I also met another fella who was in for the same thing so we lamented about the delicious GoLYTELY drink that we had to choke back.  This poor guy was having more issues than I could imagine, so I admit I was comparing… in the sense that I was grateful I didn’t have to deal with the personal issues he had.  Before I could compare TOO much I got the call that my turn was up, YEE HAW!!!

Time to be a 'big girl' 😉

I mentioned the whole ‘take a biopsy for celiac testing’ request, but it turns out you can only get a biopsy from your upper GI, not lower.  That will need to be another procedure (will be doing that ASAP when we arrive in Germany).  I was hit up with some drugs, told to lay on my side, got my oxygen tube up the nose and then just tried to relax.  I slept through the whole thing and it was peaceful…okay, that is a lie.  I was stoned but felt everything.  I could hear myself groaning and asking for drugs, but didn’t realize I was even talking.  I may have said that it felt like the tube was going to come out of my stomach because of the pressure.  I may have also said that I felt like a hand was stirring my guts around…I lack a filter on my best days, so I guess this was a filter free moment!  Now you see why I don’t drink 😉

Erase “Katie Couric” and insert “Amanda Groff”

Afterwards, I got a little more somber.  This is going to sound crazy and irrational, but understand that this has been an issue for 10 years with no resolution.  I was told all was clear and normal….I broke down crying.  It felt like I was being told, “well, sucks to be you…just keep on keeping on and have fun with that rotten gut”.  I was trying to listen to the nurse talking, but those silent little tears just kept ‘a comin’…the drugs may have made it harder to control them.  This was when I needed the slap of reality from the Hub.  Rather than sit there crying about the fact that I have an apparently healthy colon, I should be grateful that I have a healthy colon.  Next step is to see what else I can do to help myself and then take the next step once we hit Germany.  I pouted, gave the stank eye a l’il bit and then do like all brats do….I waited and called my dad, so I could tattle on my colon. 

Daaaddddd, it just didn't give me the answer I wanted!

I need TWO slaps of reality from my two toughest guys.  Yes, I am that sensitive AND hard-headed.  My dad told me some more foods to avoid, said “heck yeah, go for it” to the gluten-free idea, and then told me to pull up my knickers and wait it out.  Thank God for these men, I would have a harder time accepting what I don’t want if it weren’t for them!  So I just gotta hang on and show my colon some love with an easy clean gluten-free lifestyle so my guts can relax…

If I love you, will you love me back?

In the meantime, I have my Amazon cart all loaded with gluten-free oats, extra chia seeds, muscle milk protein drinks, gluten-free flour, gluten-free chocolate chips and coconut flour.  I am going light on grains for a few days to give my guts a bit of recovery and then will see how I make out!  So there you have it, I survived my first (and I hope, only) colonoscopy, I whined a bit but have come around, and have decided to really be pro-active rather than pro-attitude 😉  Thanks for not being grossed out and for being a part of this whole experience….like we say, it is a journey!

How do you show your guts love?

Some new eats and my 2nd St.Patty’s 5K!

I started my 10K interval training program this week and am happily using it to help build up my endurance!  First day was on Thursday and it went very well!  In other news, I decided to get some new yum-yums in my mouth this week, AND I decided last night I would run a St.Patty’s 5K this morning!!

Last minute decision....thought I was not going to be able to go! A change of plans at dinner time had me getting my camel pak ready for the run!

First a little note about my interval training.  I had my first day on Thursday and was honestly surprised at how much more difficult it was than I had expected!  I started out really quick and realized I wanted to speed it up at the end and not burn out!  I did a 5 minute warm-up and a 5 minute cool-down (brisk walking) and then timed the running portion only.  I did just over 2 miles of intervals in 19:26min.  Not too bad, it was a 9:39/mile including the walking portions.  I used this 5K run as a mix-up before doing another round of interval training on Monday.  I was up at ’em pretty early because Gavin was having a ROUGH night and I honestly was worried I would not have the energy to go.  I pulled up my big girl pants, threw some chia seeds on my toast and plastered a smile to my face!

Is my smile convincing??

I got all signed up for the race, and then hung out reading my ‘Clean Eating’ magazine and making a plan for dinner while I waited for the run to start.  The weather was extremely nice considering the cold windy days we experienced this week!!  It warmed up pretty fast and right before I was about to start, my camel pak leaked a TON of water down my back….camel pak, you’re fired and that is my final decision!  I was able to get some water into a water bottle, but that was not enough for this run.  I got a little over heated right around the half-way point so I took in some water, walked QUICKLY and like MacGyver, I pulled gum out of my shoe…..huh, what??

I did not have any other place to keep it. Note the shoe on the right has the swapped out gum…no littering from this gal!!

I hit a couple points where that ‘ol sun was beating on me and my water was gone.  We all know that I cannot run without a large supply of water…I am destined for the bushes when I get thirsty because for some reason I just get weak and dizzy.  I just took some deep breaths and cheered myself on!!  I ended on a nice pile of hills, those were not very cool, AT ALL!!  Between the heat and the lack of water, I just knew it was better to pace it out and not try to sprint those last few hills.  My finish time was 29:29 with an average pace of 9:29/mi, the fastest mile was 8:45…that was when I had water 😉  I didn’t take pics while I was running, but after I finished I drove the route and grabbed some shots!

We ran the perimeter of Torii Station...it had some pretty views!

Our directions along the way!

The non-alcoholic green beer...none for me, but a cool idea!

A 6-pack of beer for the fastest runner!!!

Back at home with my race shirt 🙂

Now I am going to throw a TON more pictures at you!  I got some new eats at the grocery store AND I also made some new yummy treats to enjoy! 

I found a new line of organic breads at our grocery store! I got the 7 Grain with Flax! It was great with my Natural PB and Chia before the run!

I have NEVER tried Sweet Potato Fries, so I thought these all natural's were a safe way to start!

Let me give these a try on busy nights when I need some quick veggies!!

Not new, but super yummy! Grapes, carrots with hummus, toasted pita with homemade guacamole!

Now THIS was new!

That yummy bowl above is something I tried out according to post-run and full cramp (yes, those) cravings! Half an apple (will peel it next time, the skin made it hard to spoon up) drizzled with just about 1Tb melted all natural PB, sprinkled with chia seeds and a little bit of my homemade chocoalte honey granola.  I had the oven still heated from broiling the pita (500F) and so I placed this in the oven for 2 minutes, THEN turned off the heat and left it in the oven for another 4 minutes.  When it came out I had a gooey ramikin full of deliciousness!!  Seriously, how good does that look?  We then spent a family day at the park (this will be in my next post with a different topic) and we stopped by the market to grab some goodies.  I wanted to try out a recipe from the magazine (as mentioned before) ~  I will post the recipe in separate post, but what I made was: Flank Steak Panini with a spinach and blue cheese sauce!!  Uh, hello ~ SO GOOD!!  Here is a pic of the flank and the sauce:

This sauce was so yummy mixed with the spices on the flank steak!

Here it is all assembled (this is my husband's, mine was on a wheat tortilla and it fell apart 😉 )

This meal was a double bonus!  Not only was it amazing, but it was a great way for my husband and I to BOTH be involved in the process.  I let him chose the spices and seasoning for the flank since he was grilling it, and I prepared the sauce and the paninis!  Even though mine fell apart, I made sure to assemble perfect little bites (OCD, there was no other way in this girl’s world)!  I am still satisfied from my meal and did not need a dessert or evening treat!  I made sure to have that earlier with my apple concoction!!  Isn’t it great when you have something so yummy that seems so bad but it is really full of good for you ingredients.  Ahhhh I am going to relish in that simple enjoyment while I go relax with my loves before turning in for the night!  Happy Saturday! 

What do you love about eating ‘clean’?  Ever do a run/race on short notice, and how did you do?  What new foods/recipes have YOU tried out lately?

Safe in Japan with some yummy eats and positive thoughts!

Well it has been an interesting 24 hours!  I got home from work yesterday to see a horrible disaster on the Japanese News Channel.  We are on a Southern Island and are quite safe, those in Northern Japan are not so lucky!  Please keep them in your prayers!

Our location

Yesterday was all about eats for me.  I was craving yummy, filling and healthy foods that would really get my taste buds buzzing!  I wanted to try to treat myself to pretty presentation, nice additions and a plan for lots of baking on the weekend.  I spent a lot of time on Angela’s site drooling over the amazing, nurturing, and healthful creations I wanted to make!  But first a couple of my own yummy eats for the day!

Dark Chocolate, Flax and Chia Over night Oats Parfait!!!

I am literally in anticipation to eat my oats everyday on the way to work!!

Yay, I finally get to eat my breakfast parfait!

It was a student’s birthday and so of course, that meant cake was to be had!  I came prepared, though!  I brought some natural peanut butter, my tofu pudding with flax mix up and an always reliable banana!!  The kids were munching on this:

Who's ready for a 3pm MEGA-CRASH??? Not this girl!

I was very happy to assemble my own delicious treat…..of course, all of my students were commenting on my tofu pudding creation while repeating, “Sugar-Off Groff”.  Those kiddies make me smile 😉

Doesn't look so pretty right now, but when I cut it up...

...oh buddy!!! Tell me that does not look YUMMY!!

I was so excited for each and every bite!!!  I was excited to go to the grocery store after I got home because I was compiling a list all day from OSG recipes!!  You know I must have been in the ‘ready to bake’ zone if I was looking forward to spending my Friday night at the grocery store!  Friday night or not, I had a plan for what I was going to make: Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites, Chocolate Treat Granola, Pasta with Artichoke, lentil and red pepper sauce, cherry granola bars, and a yummy trail mix to throw onto my Probiotic Yogurt (they are always out of my greek yogurt 😦 ).  Before my exciting grocery trip though, I was spending my time thinking about some other, perhaps more important, things.  Positive Thoughts!  My goal was to give my self-love notes this week and really focus on them.  I sort of improvised a bit by really focusing on (not just writing and forgetting about it) note cards…Since I have had so much stress, I thought some of these really ‘spoke’ to me and my current stresses!!

Instead of thinking I cannot handle a situation, I focused on how I am able to handle ANYTHING!

I am going to carry this one around...no more UNlove for myself!!

How could I expect things to go easy if I focus on how HARD they are?

I studied this one A LOT....that difficult person I wrote about, had a complete 180 out of nowhere!! SUCCESS!!!

I kept my body relaxed, focused on the good, and I just kept a smile on my face the whole day….I cannot believe how many things just ‘came together’ for me!!  Now I am going to make a card that says “Your Canadian Finger Print Documents are coming within 1 week”, I will study that one even while I am sleeping 😉  I think this whole train of thought and focus means I better apologize to Canada for my outburst the other day.  Sorry, Canada!  I am still proud to be Canadian (I show it everyday by saying ‘sorry’ and ‘literally’ a million times a day)!  I hope you will forgive me and allow the finger print letter to come back quickly!!!

Can we be friends again?


For now though, it is time enjoy all of my new baking goodies, bust out a Yoga Meltdown workout and try to tell my head I am not going to be too worn out for my first try at 5 miles in the morning!!  As we all say goodnight (or good morning depending on where you are) please keep Japan in your prayers and keep positive thoughts focused on them!!

Have you ever seen a stressful situation turn around when you re-focused your thoughts to the positive rather than the negative?  If you could change one thing by using positive thoughts, what would you change?