Archive | August, 2010

Eating Well at School

24 Aug

It’s back-to-school season, so some of you (me included) are going back to the wonderful, enchanted, dreary place called school.  My least favorite part of school is, strangely enough, having to sit in a desk for 6-7 hours a day.  I wish we could take classes while standing up or lying down… I hate sitting in those uncomfortable desks!  Anyway, if you want to stay alert for the entire day (yeah you do!), you need to eat foods that give you long-lasting energy.  Here are some of my favorites, and they all can work as part of a breakfast, lunch, or snacks.  When school starts I stock up on these items!


Almonds are the most vitamin-rich nut, containing plenty of protein, vitamin E, minerals like phosphorus and magnesium, and healthy fats.  The combination of proteins and fats gives them staying power.  I usually buy a big carton of salted, roasted almonds from the bulk bin at my grocery store, but if you aren’t a fan of almond flavor (yet), try these flavored oven-roasted ones.  They come in chocolate, cinnamon sugar, butter toffee, and honey, just to name a few.  Keep the container in your locker and grab some whenever you’re hungry.


Energy Bars I Love:

 NuGo Dark: Chocolate Chocolate Chip

This one’s vegan and dairy-free.


Dark Chocolate Cookies & Creme Bar

High protein, plenty of vitamins.

Sweet n’ salty… a better granola bar!

Hard to find, but awesome for breakfast.



Refreshing and full of vitamins.

Fizzy (I don’t know why, but fizzy drinks make me more alert) and zero calories, sugar, or artificial stuff.  Just water and natural flavor!

I like these because they’re portable and turn ordinary water into a fizzy, tasty, vitamin-rich drink.  Orange is my favorite, but there are tons of flavors.


Of course, no matter how many good things you eat and drink, school still means homework.  Which I need to do now.  More stuff coming soon! 🙂

Heart Thrives!

23 Aug

A few months ago, Heart Thrive sent me some samples to review.  Today, they finally arrived.  Who knows where they were all this time, but it doesn’t matter because they’re here now and so tasty!

What’s a Heart Thrive?

A Heart Thrive is a vegan energy bar.  Each package comes with 2 heart-shaped bars, and there are a variety of flavors [ chocolate chip, apricot, raisin, poppyseed, apple, cranberry, and date ]. They all have similar nutrition facts, so here is the label for Chocolate Chip as an example.

So if you eat the entire package, you’ll get 30% DV of protein calcium, and 40% DV of fiber.  Not bad for a vegan energy bar, or any bar for that matter!


Yeah, whatever.  They’re good for you, but do they taste good?

If you think a dense, chewy cookie tastes good, then YES!  These don’t taste like regular energy bars at all- they taste like someone actually took the time to bake them for you.  I bet they would taste heavenly warmed up in the microwave.

These would make a great on-the-go meal or snack.  The fiber gives them great staying power and the all-natural ingredients don’t hurt. 🙂

Thank you, Heart Thrive!

Lovely Picnik

21 Aug

I think I’ve mentioned how much I love Picnik.  And I’m going to mention it again right now.

I love Picnik.


It takes my decently bad drawings, and makes them look artsy and unique.





It also takes my decently bad photos, and makes them look decent.

The best part?  It’s free.  My sister and I share a Premium account, which is around $3 per month, but you can edit your photos just as well using a regular account.  My favorite effects are Duo-tone, Gritty, Cross-process, and increasing the contrast.

Try it out for yourself! 🙂

Nutty’s Peanut Butter

20 Aug

If you’ve been reading this blog (or at least the recipes), you know I love peanut butter.  So when Nutty’s Old Fashioned Peanut Butter sent me a sample, I practically tore open the package.

Here’s a bit of info on the company- such a cute story!

Nutty’s Old Fashioned Peanut Butter started years ago in the mind of a little girl who always wanted to open her own peanut butter and jelly shop. As an adult, Carrie’s kitchen became her lab, where crazy concoctions emerged.  In 2002 with the help of her husband Keith they opened The Original Peanut Butter Emporium in Overton, Texas. Carrie and Keith have combined their love of history and nostalgia with their love of peanut butter to create a unique peanut butter experience.

There are 12 varieties of Nutty’s Peanut Butter, and they’re all-natural.  They all sound scrumptious!  I received Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup… how could it be bad?


Please ignore the unattractiveness of this computer picture.

It’s not a Nikon or a Canon.

That would be so cool if it was, though!


Anyway, this peanut butter is sooo yummy!  It reminds me of PB&Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams, though I like Nutty’s better.  It has a gritty texture (that’s a good thing) and the perfect amount of chocolate- it doesn’t overpower the peanut butter.  It really tastes like a PB cup!! 🙂


Nutty’s has shops in Texas, but you can buy it from me through OpenSky!  This 3-pack (believe me, you’ll want 3 jars!) includes PB Cup, Chocolate Marble, and White Chocolate Chip.  For only $24, you get them all! 🙂


Thank you for reading!  Enjoy your weekend 😀


19 Aug

It’s been a very productive few days.  I’ve…


Dyed my hair.  My family really didn’t want me to, but I did it anyway and it looks better than ever.  I’ve never liked the boring, brassy brown color of my hair, but now that it’s rich, reddish-brown, I love it!  I don’t have any pictures of the new color yet, but thanks to Picnik I was able to change the hair color of an existing picture.  Yay!


Ran a race.  The first race since my diagnosis, might I add.  It was only 2 miles and I ran horribly slow, but I’m just happy to have finished without fainting or ending up in an ambulance.


Bought books for school.  Why must they be so expensive??  Thankfully I got great deals from my friends whom already had the books I need.  I still had to pay $122 for a calculus textbook, though.  Uff.  I don’t even like math!


Got stuff ready for freshman orientation.  I’m a freshman mentor this year (fancy!), so I have to call my group, make name tags, etc.  My group’s theme is Under The Sea, so I made fish-shaped tags and spelled the names in glitter glue.  Which took a long time.  Some of the kids’ names are really long, but at least I get volunteer hours!

1st Day of XC!

16 Aug

The camp-out last night was a lot of fun, but I didn’t get to sleep until way too late and then was awoken by the sounds of quacking geese way too early. I only got about 5 hours of sleep before waking up for practice the next morning. I ate a peanut butter granola bar for some fast energy.

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At practice we ran 4 miles + did core work.  It was really humid and I hadn’t had enough to drink (which is still a lot for most people, haha) so the run was tough.  One thing I love about my cross-country team is that as people finish the run, we cheer them on.  Some people walk to the finish, but it’s incredible how a little motivation can make someone keep running.  The same goes for during the run.  If someone is walking, you’re expected to give them encouragement, and if they’re hurt or sick, relay that information to the coaches.  The team is great 🙂


This picture was taken at the Hershey Store in Chicago, which I bet none of you Healthy Living bloggers went to!


When I got home, I had a Laughing Cow cheese and some Oatmeal Squares, then made a batch of banana tea bread. 

I call it tea bread because it’s made in a small loaf pan.

Plus it sounds fancier. 😀

It’s vegan but it is sooooo moist and delicious.  I wasn’t in a photographing mood, sorry. 😦

Vegan Banana Tea Bread

1. Soften 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter in the microwave (we keep ours in the fridge), then mix in 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup and 2 rounded tablespoons light brown sugar.

2. Add a medium ripe banana, and squish it together with the rest of the batter.  Then stir in 2 tablespoons soy yogurt.

3. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup almond meal, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.  I also added 1/4 cup chocolate chips 🙂

4. Foil-line and grease a small loaf pan, then pour in the batter.  It should be a bit thick, but don’t worry- that’s okay!

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the middle is no longer jiggly.  Cool it, then slice and enjoy!


14 Aug

Yes it does.

You know what else makes me happy?  The fact that cross-country starts tomorrow!  Our team starts the season with a camp out on the course, then go running at midnight.  It’s so much fun!

You know what doesn’t make me happy?  Defensive comments.  I received a comment on my About POTS post arguing that POTS is a mental disorder.

Heh, I get that a lot.  Just to make things clear:  It isn’t a mental disorder.  It’s an autonomic nervous system disorder.  There is overlap between the brain and the autonomic nervous system, yes, but mental disorders involve neurotransmitters in the brain, while ANS disorders involve neurotransmitters throughout the body.  Am I getting too confusing?  Maybe if you’d researched POTS a little bit before making your remark, you would understand what I’m saying.  I’m not angry.  I’m just making announcing to the world the value of knowledge.  Get some before you comment on peoples’ sicknesses.  Maybe I am slightly perturbed…

Obviously I did not approve that comment.


Tonight I’m going out for stir fry with friends then going to see Step Up 3D.  It should be lots of fun!  Veggie stir fry + brown rice + sweet n’ sour mixed with teriyaki sauce = happy Courtney. 🙂

Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies

13 Aug

Yesterday, I made an impulse decision to buy this bag of almond meal.


I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, but the back of the bag suggested I use it to replace half the flour in chocolate-chip cookies for a moister cookie.

Hmmm… I’m always up for moist, chewy cookies.  These don’t disappoint- the dough is especially good.  The cookies don’t taste like almonds, per se, but have a crunchy-chewy, rich texture and a warm, yummy flavor.  It’s tough to describe, but I promise you they’re very good!


I started with 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened.


Use an electric mixture to cream it with 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar.


Add an egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

This isn’t how most people do it, but I’m anti-sifter and I see no difference in the cookies if you do it this way.  Plus it saves time, which is always good.


Gradually add 3/4 cup each of almond meal and all-purpose flour.


Don’t forget 1/2 cup chocolate chips!  I used Ghirardelli 58% dark chocolate chips, which have a nice snap and a rich, chocolatey flavor.


Now dump the dough onto a piece of wax paper, and spread it into a nice rectangle.

Wrap it up like a little present.


Chill the dough in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.  The almond meal gives the dough a lighter, more mousse-like texture, so it’s important to chill it before you make the cookies.

I like this picture, and since I don’t have a photo of the dough in the freezer [oh NO!], I’ll put it here.


Cut the dough into squares, and shape them into round cookies.  These cookies spread A LOT, so I wouldn’t recommend putting more than 9 tablespoon-sized blobs of dough per cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.


Stuff… [ WOW Good Title ]

12 Aug


If anyone wants to buy me a very, very early birthday gift…

They can buy me…


Oh, my.  They’re bowls… with LIDS!  They’re by Pyrex (the company that makes the glass baking dishes) and each set comes with a 1.5, 2.5, and 3 quart bowl, each with its own colored lid.  So you can make pasta salad, then cover it up and store it in the fridge.  Or use the bowls as extra-large food storage containers for cookies and whatnot.  They are so versatile!  And with the $21 price tag, you’ll be able to buy a set for both yourself and I!!  What a great deal! 😉


In other news, I wore my new shoes to work out today, and so far they are great!  I have very high arches that collapse with I run, causing me to overpronate, which is strange because high-arched feet tend to underpronate.  My feet are also weird in that they’re tiny yet wide at the top, probably from squeezing into pointe shoes!   


I need a shoe that has good arch support, but is still lightweight.  They’re called the Asics Gel Enhance III, and even though I got them at a discount chain shoe store ($60 yessss), they’re very nice.  I like my shoes to be as light as possible, and these fit the bill. 🙂


Wisconsin Dells Recap

12 Aug

My family and I went to Wisconsin Dells earlier this week.  If you don’t know, the Dells is a rather strange city full of waterparks and fudge shops.  There’s plenty of kitschy motels, as well as ones that look like they should be the setting of an episode of Criminal Minds.  We stayed at Great Wolf Lodge, which is a big resort that has a huge indoor waterpark.

Only in Wisconsin

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A pretty farm and sky… this looks like a Windows desktop background!  Feel free to use it as yours, I would be honored.

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Outdoor waterslides

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There was an outlet mall right next to the hotel, so we hit up the stores to find me a new pair of running shoes for cross-country.  Perhaps these?

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Heh, no.

I did find a good pair, though.  I’ll dedicate an entire post to them in the near future.

We went to some interesting restaurants.  Wisconsin Dells is full of interesting places, but Buffalo Phil’s caught our eye because they advertised “food delivered by train”.  We were more interested in figuring out how they do that than actually eating there, but we accomplished both goals.  The lighting was horribly dim there- so the photos you are about to see may very well…

be bad.  Sorry.


The decor inside this place was a cross between country western and woodlands-y.  The building itself was built to look like a log cabin, and there were tons of animal heads on the walls.  I thought this white buffalo was adorable.  Too bad he had to die like this.

I don’t like taxidermy.

Does anyone?

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The food actually WAS delivered by toy train, as were the drinks and the bill.  The train would stop at your table.  It was really fun in a strange way.

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The food is not “healthy” by any means, nor is it gourmet.  I ordered a quarter rotisserie chicken with waffle fries, and even though it was a kid’s portion I couldn’t finish it- portions are huge!  It was good, though.  Vegetarians would have trouble finding something to eat here.


After dinner, we hit up the hotel’s arcade.  I impressed myself by beating the high score on Whack-a-Mole.  The key is to use your hands instead of the hammer.  Just sayin’. 

Oh my gosh, horrible picture of me.

Forget you ever saw it.

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The waterpark also has a wave pool, which I really liked.  Here’s me after swimming.

I do have hair, you just can’t see my ponytail.

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All in all, it was a nice vacation.  Not entirely relaxing, but entertaining nonetheless.  You don’t go to the Dells to relax, anyway.