Thursday, March 18, 2021

March Madness

It’s all about March Madness around here as the Fighting Illini are not only back in the NCAA Championship, but they are the No. 2 team in the country. Whether or not you are cheering a specific team, it is nice to know that sporting events are coming back.

Celebrate your hometown…

I got to celebrate the first round of the tournament with some special glassware from Well Told College Town. They decided to do something a little different with their university memorabilia. Instead of logos, these have maps of the actual cities on them. I loved the two (one orange, one blue) glasses of the downtowns of Champaign and Urbana.

Light wine…

The games will be going on for two weeks, so you don’t want to overdo on the drinks. I love Rosé Water, which conveniently comes in cans. It reminds me of a wine spritzer (the kind you got in the bar, not the bottle). It tastes like wine and club soda, but since it’s rose from Boudreaux, it’s a little more flavorful than a white wine spritzer. Each can is only 69 calories. There’s no sugar and only 4.9% abv.

 Another for easy sipping…

Stewart’s Premium Spiked Seltzer is another light option for watching the games. Each can is 100 calories, gluten free, and vegan. They have just a tiny amount (no more than 01g added sugar). The alcohol is also low at 5%.

Black Cherry and Orange Cream were the favorites. They also come in Raspberry Lime and Root beer.

Don’t forget the protein...

The Elxr Co has a great blend of superfoods to make a delicious, healthy  protein shake with.* The Balance Superfood Protein Powder. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and said to improve cholesterol and signs of aging. At 160 calories, 22 grams of protein, and only two grams of sugar, it’s a nutritional powerhouse, but a bit pricey at $67.

Kind for Equality...

Kind Bars are always a tasty, natural choice for snacking, but the company also is about doing good. They set me some of their KIND Bars Equality Salted Carmamel Dark Chocolate Almond Bars. It's one of those limited additions for a cause, this one part of a multi-year empathy program to support Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. You Can purchase them on Amazon. 


*Full disclosure, it contained some ingredients I am allergic to so I had a few friends try it for me.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

A Different Holiday Season

It’s usually a month of celebration with family and friends. Things were certainly quite different this year. That doesn’t mean we still can’t celebrate, even if you are by yourself.

Pour yourself a glass of one of this month’s finds and get ready for the New Year with some new healthy choices.


Ultimate peppermint for the season…

I couldn’t think of a better spirit for the winter than RumChata Peppermint Bark. It’s rich and creamy, and full of mint flavor, without being overpowering. It’s a rum candy cane I want on the rocks, in my coffee, and definitely in my hot chocolate. (For more ideas, check out the RumChata website.)

As delicious as RumChata Peppermint Bark is on its own, I could resist trying a recipe with it. Peppermint mocha is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Here’s my recipe for some delectable Peppermint Mocha Fudge Brownies.


Bruno’s rum…

After trying SelvayRey Rum on vacation, Bruno Mars fell in love and started working with the company that distills in Panama.

They had me at “Chocolate Rum,” and it lives up to its tasty treat name. SelvayRey Chocolate Rum is not very sweet, with the infused chocolate sticking out to produce coffee notes and giving the opportunity to mix in a sugary chocolate pina colada, or more savory cocktails.

I'm also a fan of the SelvaRey White Rum has hints of fruit and vanilla, thanks to a blend of two different aged rums bourbon barrels.


Always time for tequila…

I’m always ready to try a new tequila and INSÓLITO did not disappoint. This also comes with musical support, from country music’s Midland. They teamed with the Herrera Brothers of Premium de Jalisco.

INSÓLITO’s unique flavor is credited to the elevation (7,200 feet) 80% of the agave is grown in, mixed with the balance from the lowlands.

I loved the INSÓLITO Blanco, sweet and smooth, and a bit more herby than fruity. The Reposado is also a good choice, with flavorful citrus and not too much sugar. I found the Anejo, aged for 18-24 months in new American oak, a bit too whiskey-like for my taste.


Wrap it in cheese…

 Folio Cheese Wraps are a big win for anyone looking to eat healthy. They check all the boxes as gluten-free, high protein, keto, low carb, and even lactose free. Most of all, they are delicious and can be used in so many ways.

Folio Cheese are shaped like tortillas, but made completely out of cheese. You can wrap your sandwich inside or put them on top of your dish and give them a quick melt. I just put a parmesan (my favorite) on top of my pasta for a gooey dinner, and wrapped one over avocado for a healthy lunch.

The Folio Cheddar and Jarlsberg are also excellent. You can buy them in many supermarkets, or on Amazon.


Protein in a puff…

Shrewd Food Protein Puffs offer another healthy way to get your protein. The nutrition is impressive, with 14 grams of protein, less than two grams of sugar, and two carbs per package. They are easy to take with you too.

I received a selection of all their flavors. The Nacho Cheese was definitely my favorite, but my friends and I enjoyed the Brick Oven Pizza, Baked Cheddar, and Strawberry & Cream. The only one I was not fond of was the Cookies and Cream, which didn’t have much flavor. 

These are definitely a good way to kickstart your new year. You can purchase Shrewd Food Protein Puffs here.

Cauliflower power…

I confess that I am not on the cauliflower bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, I love it as a vegetable, I just don’t see it as a substitute for every carb out there. When I was asked to try Cauli Crunch products, I went into it with that skepticism.

I have since learned that cauliflower can be a healthy, reasonable, and tasty substitute for breadcrumbs. Cauli Crunch is a great alternative, whether you are looking to save a few calories, add more vitamins, or stick to a diet that’s gluten-free and Vegan. I haven’t had a chance to get too creative yet, but it makes a great way to bread chicken as it’s got a nice crunch.  

The Cauli Crunch 7 Spice is especially flavorful. It also comes in Original and Taste of Italy. They are available here.


Make it eggless…

If you’ve ever tried to substitute eggs to make something vegan, you know what a challenge it can be. Vegg not only takes away some of that works, it is a healthy and tasty alternative.

Vegg is all plant-based, made from soy, yeast, magnesium, beta carotene, and black sea salt. It is an egg yolk substitute that can be used it cooking and baking. I tried the Vegg Egg Yolk in a muffin recipe and did not taste the difference, but what I really loved was the Vegg Power Scramble with 20 mg of protein. I added some spinach and mushrooms for more superfoods.

You can purchase Vegg on Amazon.


Don’t forget the anti-aging…
I’m pretty happy with my skin care routine these days so I wasn’t sure when I was approached by a Baebody rep about trying their Retinol Moisturizer. Then I did a little research and read that it was outselling its class on Amazon, and was only $19.99.

I discovered something very interesting when trying the Baebody Retinol Moisturizer. I was honestly not sure it was enough firming for my 50+ year old facial skin, but while the jury was still out on that one, I ran out of my body moisturizer one night. I decided to try it on some crepey areas I acquired during a recent weight loss.

While I’m still not sure it’s a facial cream for me, Baebody Retinol Moisturizer has made a huge difference in smoothing my calves, upper arms, knees, and elbows. I definitely suggest ordering the cream and trying it everywhere.