Product Review: Revol Snax Coconut Bites

If you haven’t already heard about @RevolSnax, be prepared for instant happiness: these things are AMAZING. Their super-impressive Kickstarter just ended (they reached their initial goal in 5 days) and their production just began (they legit posted to IG TODAY that they are now in production). Based in Washington, DC and having adopted a keto lifestyle years ago, the brains behind Revol Snax were frustrated with the lack of convenient low-carb snack options that never tasted as good as homemade recipes. From that frustration was born these beauties:

Revol Snax Keto Coconut Bites

Revol Snax graciously sent me a box with one pack of each flavors to try and review for you all and let me tell you, I feel SPOILED. These little gems are so delicious, so decadent, and SO satisfying. The flavor options are (I bit into them so you could see the filling and because uh, duh, I wanted to try them all as soon as I opened them LOL):

Dark Chocolate with Almond Butter
These were the first ones I tried out of the package. The notes I took on my phone say: holy crap. Great little almond crunch and amazing chocolate flavor.

Dark Chocolate with Almond Butter Revol Snax KetoDeb review of keto product
You can’t really see the almond butter in this bite, but trust me, it’s in there.

Snickerdoodle with Hazelnut Filling
My notes: oh, the cinnamon. I love cinnamon and wow, so very cinnamony and SMOOTH.

Snickerdoole with Hazelnut Filling Revol Snax KetoDeb review of keto product
Snickerdoodle. Freaking delicious cinnamon nuttiness. YUM.

Matcha Latte with Vanilla Cream Filling
My notes: Perfect sweet and salty combo (not like, salty salty, but not overly sweet). Great filling flavor and absolutely perfect consistency. I want to take two bites and that means cleaning coconut crumbles off my boobs, but who cares.

Matcha Latte with Vanilla Cream Filling Revol Snax KetoDeb review of keto product
Matcha matcha matcha… Mmm.

And my personal favorite… Double Dark Chocolate with Ganache Filling:
My notes: Holy balls (literally). These are actually filled with ganache. Dark chocolate creamy goodness – how is this real life? Mmph.

Double Dark Chocolate with Ganache Filling Revol Snax KetoDeb review of keto product
Decadent. That’s the only word I can come up with that is even CLOSE to describing how amazing these are.

What’s actually crazy about these delightful little gems is the nutrition info:

Nutrition information with calories fat protein and net carbs Revol Snax KetoDeb review of keto product
125 calories and 1 net carb for TWO of these. TWO OF THEM. The nutrition info is basically the same for all four flavors, but visit their Kickstarter or website for the full info.

What’s even better is that because there is so much flavor and fat packed into these, they’re SATISFYING and FILLING. I took two out of the refrigerator the other night (keep in mind, I have a tendency to eat an entire mug cake WITH keto PB frosting at night) and after letting them warm to room temp, nibbled them (again, crumbs on your boobs, totally worth it) and was perfectly content dessert/snack-wise.

I’m SO excited for these to hit stores (they’re already available at DC Whole Foods! Woop woop!) and to see the continued success that Dave and Nadine of Revol Snax are certain to have!

Recipe Review: Low Carb Chili Dog Bake (LC, HF, GF)

If you’re following along with my weight loss journey on Instagram, you’re already aware that I’m a self-proclaimed casserole junkie. I love how simple they are and how easy it is to prep 10 lunches for the work week from one pan. One of my recent Pinterest finds is from Jamie Sanders (Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom) and it’s a biiiiig hit: Low Carb Chili Dog Bake. My one-liner about it is: you basically make chili, put it over hot dogs, top it with cheese, and bake it.

Okay, it’s a long one-line, but still. SO good. Here’s a snapshot of the ingredients directly from Jamie’s website:

I decided to make this a bit last minute on Tuesday (we needed lunches only for Weds/Thurs/Fri this week) so I made some edits based on what I had on-hand and I ended up liking it more than last time (and it’s lower carb!). The edits I made were:

  • double the recipe, with the exception of the tomato sauce and water
  • skip the bell pepper (bf hates peppers)
  • skip the celery salt (I didn’t have any)
  • skip the sugar substitute (I’m just meh about needing it in the recipe)
  • skip the tomato paste (I didn’t have any)
  • subbed the cheddar cheese for pepper jack cheese (it’s what we had in the fridge already)

Also, the first time I made this we were annoyed with cutting the hot dogs in a bowl (the recipe calls for cutting the hot dogs lengthwise) so this time around I just chopped them into bite-size pieces.

I didn’t bother adding this all to CarbManager until today (merp, hindsight) so six servings is a RIDIC amount of calories/serving, but as ten servings it’s stellar:

DEM MACROS, THO, OMG

This is a great meal from a macro perspective, especially if you’re IF’ing and you have no issues with a 541 calorie mid-day meal. Also, it’s SO freaking good. It’s a freaking CHILI CHEESE DOG in a BOWL! Love love love. I’ll for sure keep this in our keto lunch rotation.

Have any favorite recipes to share? Anything I should try and then review? Drop a line in the comments below!

Recipe Review: Taste of Home Chicken Thighs with Shallots and Spinach (LC, HF, GF)

As part of my calorie-counting plans, Β I wanted to use actual recipes *gasp* for my meal plans. It’s just a little less thinking for me to plan all the things when I can at least start somewhere with an ingredient list. I decided last week that I wanted to incorporate at least three new meals or meal ideas into our week of dinners. Of course that meant heading to my favorite place to find such things, Pinterest.

I searched “low calorie dinners” and got really good results, but for things I wasn’t really down for spending the time/money on. Bird really love chicken thighs, so I narrowed my search to “low calorie chicken thigh dinners” and voila! Success. One of the results that came up was a list of 30 Healthy Dinner Recipes in 30 Minutes from Taste of Home. There were quite a few recipes in there I was interested in, but nothing strikes my fancy like a dish with spinach. I put spinach in my scrambled eggs every morning I’m home (I drink BPC when I have to travel) and so finding a recipe that would just allow me to buy a bit more spinach? That’s meal-planning winning fo’ sho. Enter this freaking gem of a dish: Chicken Thighs with Shallots & Spinach by Jenna Johnannes from Wrightstown, WI.

Here’s the ingredient and instruction list:

Ingredients and Instructions for Chicken Thighs with Shallots and Spinach

And here are the changes I made:

  1. Instead of using seasoned salt, I used himalyan pink salt and Simply Organic Herbs de Provence (affiliate link for Amazon, just an FYI!). I also added waaaay more than 1/2 teaspoon of the herbs, because YUM. It’s so delicious.
  2. I went with the reduced-sodium chicken broth. I’m sure the wine would be delicious, but meh.
  3. I used full-fat sour cream (Organic Valley makes reallllly good organic sour cream!) because I don’t believe in low-fat and fat-free things, except for cooking spray, lol.

I also logged all of the things into LoseIt as a recipe and put it as 4 servings (she listed six, but I try to make things that we can each just have half of, that way there aren’t leftovers to mess up my pre-planned lunches). Here’s what the recipe looked like:

my version

1010 calories for the whole shebang is perfect – that meant a 505 calorie meal for each of us. SO EXCITING when it just works out well! I knew that probably wasn’t quiiiite enough food for me after a really long day, so I added a side of roasted zucchini (zucchini, chopped with olive oil + salt + pepper, roasted at 400 degrees for 15 minutes) so the total meal came to 606 calories (29.4g fat, 14.2g net carbs, and 39.7g protein). Also, it plated up beautifully:

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This recipe was definitely a winner – can’t wait to rotate it in to a meal plan again in a few weeks!

Keto Meal Planning – It’s Simple, I Promise!

Hi friends! So this is a super-long blog with a LOT of words, but bear with me, that doesn’t mean it’s complicated, I promise! I did feel, though, that I was writing sort of haphazardly, so I apologize in advance if I’m a little all over the place.

I get a lot of IG questions about meal planning–how do you plan ahead for the entire week? How do you economically grocery shop for everything you want to make? How do you stick to it and not get off track?

I meal plan in one of two ways: 1) I’m not bored, so let’s keep it simple, or 2) I hate everything and I need new meals in my life.

I’m also a “keep the staples in the house” kinda gal, so I’ve almost always got chicken, ground beef, and salmon in the freezer, and bacon, butter, cheese, cream cheese, and heavy cream in the refrigerator. I never run out of coffee/tea, and I think I keep the egg farmer in business with how many eggs I buy. I also buy fresh veggies (and frozen, depends on my schedule/mood) every week, and anything else is based off of option 1 or 2 above. One of the MOST important parts of meal-planning for me is finances. I am extremely budget-conscious, and that plays very heavily into my meal-planning/grocery shopping.

Let’s take meal-planning meal-by-meal to make it as simple as possible.

Breakfast meal-planning:

  1. I hate getting out of bed in the morning. I don’t want to get up earlier than I have to to get to work by 8:30, so I’m not going to make myself eggs and cheese for breakfast on work-days. Instead, I’m a HUGE fan of Bulletproof Coffee, and I have a nice routine down where I boil my water after my shower, mid-makeup I come out and grind the coffee beans and then French press my coffee. Before I head out the door, I blend in butter and MCT/Coconut oil with an aerolatte and drink half on the way to work and half when I get here (not intentionally, it just always happens that way).

Mid-morning snack meal-planning:

  1. I’m pretty much always hungry around 10, whether I BPC or eat a full meal at 6:30 AM, so I always comes to work prepared. Sometimes I nuke a quest bar for 15 seconds and eat that, but the more cost-conscious option is to bring two hard-boiled eggs. I hard-boil eggs on Sunday night and eat them through the week (I leave the shell on, though I’m not entirely sure why). This is a simple and super-cheap way to get a good snack in mid-morning.

Lunch meal-planning:

  1. Always, always, always make your lunch the night before. It saves so much early morning stress to already have it packed!
  2. I’m a salad-for-lunch kinda gal.Β Sometimes I switch over to everything I’d put in my salad being in a wrap, but not often. On Sundays, I buy a 3-pack of Romaine and chop/spin 1 head, fill my salad container for Monday, then chop/spin another head to get me through til Wednesday. I have this super amazing salad bento-box looking thing from Rubbermaid that I love. I put walnuts, crumbled gorgonzola, and protein in the top part (often times my protein is lunch meat that I chop, but this week it’s bacon I chopped/cooked last night) and bring a little refillable container of ranch dressing with me. I never ever get bored of this meal, so I have it just about all the time, lol. You can of course buy bagged, chopped lettuce, but it’s much cheaper to get the heads and DIY.

Afternoon snack meal-planning:

  1. CUCUMBERS. I’m telling you. This is the only answer for me. They’re crisp and cool and a great pick-me-up if you get sleepy in the afternoon. Sometimes I put my leftover ranch on them, but most of the time I just eat them. I slice them every night when I make my lunch so they don’t get yucky, and keep the remaining cuke in a ziploc in the vegetable drawer until it’s gone (I get the seedless hothouse cucumbers, and two of those gets me through the week of snacks).
  2. I also almost always have a Tervis Tumbler full of tea in the afternoon. The caffeine boost is nice, and I freaking love tea.

If I’m not bored, dinner meal-planning is super simple for me. I’m going to have a protein, I’m going to slather it in fat, and I’m going to have a veggie, and I’m going to slather that in fat, too. If I am suffering from boredom, I start with Pinterest. I have a fantastic love affair with Pinterest, and I’ll often come away from my boredom feeling excited about new dishes to make, new recipes to alter (I really love to cook, so changing things up is a past-time of mine), etc. Either way:

Dinner meal-planning:

  1. Start with what you have. Most of the time when people say they “have no food in their house”, they don’t mean it. I know that right now, I have three packs left of a multi-pack of boneless skinless chicken breast from Costco in the freezer. And two salmon filets. And two packages of ground beef. Even if I’m suffering from boredom, I can find something new and exciting to make with what I already have (that budget rules the roost, I tell ya).
  2. Work around your own schedule. I know that on Tuesday nights, I have about 20 minutes between getting home and needing to change/leave for club volleyball. So I need something that a) isn’t going to take forever or can be made the night before and b) won’t make me puke on the court. This is almost always cheeseburgers, which I make on Monday night when I make Monday night’s dinner, and then heat up when I get home on Tuesday. If you’re into leftovers (I’m not NOT into leftovers, I’m just a salad-for-lunch kinda gal) then you can make up a few extra cheesburgers, and take them for lunch on another day of the week. For me, and probably for most folks, making my life simpler is the best way for me to stick to something like planning ahead for five days/grocery shopping ahead/eating well/not being an asshole to myself.
  3. If you buy fresh or frozen veggies regularly, it’s totes okay to have “grilled chicken/frozen veggies” as your dinner meal-plan. Then you can have whatever seasonings/veggies you want, add in some butter or fat of some kind, and you’ve not only stuck to your plan, but you’re not grid-locking yourself into broccoli on Thursday and Brussels sprouts on Friday, no matter what.

With all of this taken into consideration, the actual most important part for me is to WRITE THIS SHIT DOWN.

I use a Happy Planner, so I have the Meal Planner extension (from the home expansion) and I use that. It has a lovely schedule for the days, I fill in the meals, and there is a grocery list on the opposite page (that I use for the next week, rather than the week we’re in). Because I use my HP for EVERYTHING, it’s super-simple for me to keep track of what I’m making, what I need to take out of the freezer and when, etc.

TL;DR: Use what you have. Buy what you don’t have. Change it up if you’re bored. Make lunches the night before. Write everything down so you don’t forget to take out the frozen meat and you stick to your plan of eating well. Kick ass. Repeat.

Recipe Review: I Breathe I’m Hungry’s General Tso’s Meatballs

One of my “To Do’s” in my planner yesterday was to pin new recipes, which I did during my lunch break at work (because at least then I’m not making myself ridiculously hungry by pinning delicious food!). One of the recipes I came upon was for I Breathe I’m Hungry’s General Tso’s Meatballs, which immediately intrigued me because I fucking LOVE Chinese Food. And it’s one of my go-to cheat meals, and since I’m trying to avoid cheat meals right meow, it seemed like a perfect substitute. I had other plans for dinner, but as I was still at the grocery store at 8 o’clock last night, these made a much more time-friendly (read: me not murdering someone out of hanger) option.

Let me just tell you–these meatballs are BANGIN’.Β 

They’re made with chicken and a lot other ingredients I had to purchase (rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, etc.), so I’ll definitely be making them again. Initially I was going to roast some broccoli to have with them, but then decided on cauli rice instead:

img_20170113_213305
IBIH’s General Tso’s Meatballs over Cauliflower Rice – YUM

I was a little hesitant from the get-go because when I mixed up the ground chicken, almond flour, ginger, egg, and scallions, it was, well…disgusting. Goopy chicken all over my hands, and I was just worried they weren’t going to hold consistency. But they did! I fried them in Filipio Berio Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil for about 8 minutes per side to make sure they got that crunch Melissa talks about in her recipe post.

For the sauce, I had to make two edits:

  1. Our grocery store (Redner’s) only had gigantic bags of dried chiles, which I just couldn’t reason buying because I knew I wouldn’t use them all. So I got a can of chipotle chiles in Adobo sauce from the “mexican foods” aisle. Then they were drained and seeded and replaced the dried ones in the recipe.
  2. Because of this^, the total of the xantham gum in the recipe was upped by 1/4 tablespoon to accommodate for the extra water from having those chiles instead of dried ones, which worked out perfectly in terms of the sauce and it’s marvelous consistency.

Guys–the sauce in this recipe is fantastic. It was aromatic, had a perfect flavor profile, and the perfect kick of that classic General Tso’s heat. I loved the sauce on these so much, I’m tempted to make a double batch of the sauce next time I make the meatballs, so I can have more of a coated cauli rice dish! As always, Melissa, I just adore everything you do!

Any other interesting meatball recipes out there I should try? Please do tell!

Holy Shit, It’s 2017

When you’re waiting and waiting and waiting for a thing to happen, and then it happens and you’re not even sure what to do with it….

Oh hey, 2017.

Except that I am sure what to do with it–Kick It In The Ass.

Last year was mediocre. It wasn’t terrible, and it wasn’t great. It had moments of each of those… losing one of the most inspiring women I know to cancer, and running my first half marathon, for example. But overall, I don’t feel like I owned it. I feel like I let it happen to me, instead of taking control of it. So that’s my goal for 2017: take the bull by the motherfucking horns.

Goals:

    1. Lose weight. IDK how much, IDK how quickly, but I’m not content with my weight so I’m going to keep working on it. For me, setting numerical goals leads me to creating crazy, unmanageable habits that always lead to failure, so I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to work on it. Be better. That’s all I can do.
    2. Read more. I have 100’s of books, but I tend to end up spending my time watching TV and playing video games, both of which have their merit, but I’d like to spend more of my free time reading and taking in the knowledge the rest of the world has to offer me. I’m starting out with Eat & Run by Scott Jurek, one of the world’s foremost ultrarunners.
    3. Learn to use my sewing machine. I don’t why I keep putting this off… it’s not going to be difficult, and I have so many bits of fabric and things already, so I just need to do it.
    4. Run more races. Last year I KILLED IT with my racing goals (ran multiple 5k’s, a 10k, and my first half marathon) so I want to keep it up. Someday I’m going to run a full, and you never know when the inspiration to do it will hit. I also want to join up with JAM and do some more OCRs, too πŸ™‚
    5. Keep up my volleyballin’. I’ve learned SO MUCH this year from my amazing teammates, and I’m actually starting to feel like a real player. I’m going to keep on keepin’ that up in 2017, because volleyball is BADASS.
    6. More dates with my friends. Sometimes I go months and months and months without seeing people I truly love and care about, and I want to stop that this year. Even if it’s a Google hangout/Skype date, I want to see more of the lovely faces I adore so much.
    7. Happy Planner my life. I got my first Happy Planner (did you know there is an entire community full of planning addicts? I had no idea, but now I’m in it, sooo, yeah.) and I freaking LOVE it (and capital letters, apparently).
    8. Travel more! Bird and I did more travelling last year than we have in years previous, plus I took a girls vacay with Steph, and it was really, really lovely. I want to expand that this year and do even more! Plus I really get a kick out of the gamification of TripAdvisor… πŸ˜€

I think eight goals is enough? Who knows. I’ll edit them as they need to be, but right now, I’m pumped.

What about you? Β Did you set new year goals and/or resolutions? Is there a difference? If so, what are they? Tell me tell me tell me!

 

Review: LoseIt App

Hi, friends!

Since I’ve basically always been trying to lose weight (no, really… like, my entire life. I know there are probably some of you out there who know these feels.) I’ve gone through my fair share of methods of tracking my nutritional intake. While I really enjoy the meticulous nature of hand-writing my intake in a crisp, clean notebook, it just isn’t realistic from a time perspective.Β Enter the wide world web and the 89millionbajillion ways you can track your intake/exercise. When I first started actively trying to lose weight, Sparkpeople was my jam. Since then, I’ve gone through various other websites/apps: MFP, Fitbit, FatSecret… the list goes on. Only in February of this year did I finally find the one for me: LoseIt.

Rating (free version): 4/5

I started out using just the free version of LoseIt, but within a week moved to the paid version. The free version is a great, simple way to log calories and compare and contrast calorie goals, total weight loss, etc. It’s standard. For keto, though, it’s not ideal. You don’t get access to macro goals unless you have the paid version, and we all know just how important those goals are for our lifestyle.

Rating (paid version): 5/5

LoseIt Premium

LoseIt Premium is fantastic. As mentioned above, you get access to “nutrition goals” for all sorts of things… our primary macros (fat, carbs, protein, fiber), weight loss, body measurements, etc. You name it. There are also myriads of ways to look at that data–macro graphs, daily graphs, food graphs… oh, it’s just so glorious.

LoseIt Premium Daily Summary Data.png
Daily Summary Data from LoseIt Premium

There are also “patterns”, which are derived from all of that data (all of this data is available under “insights” in LoseIt) that help you to identify what may or may not be leading to increased chances of successful goals. LoseIt Premium also comes with a recently released feature, The How, which is a well-written, well-researched blog (not necessarily keto, just FYI) with tips and tricks for nutrition, fitness, mental clarity, etc. LoseIt Premium also has all of the benefits of the other apps of similar nature–friends, badges, recipe creation, sharing foods, etc. It also pairs with common apps like Fitbit to give you a “calorie bonus” should you choose to use, and to help calculate total calorie expenditure for the week. What more could you want?

At a price point of $39.99, it’s less than $3.50 a month to get access to a great app (and support a small business that definitely has it’s heart in the right place). To learn more about LoseIt Premium, visit their website.

Are you using a nutritional tracking app? If so, which one do you love the most? Let me know in the comments below!

*As a note, I didn’t receive any perks or compensation for writing this review; I wrote it because I really do love this program and because I like to share what works for me πŸ™‚

 

It’s May: The Best Month of the Year

Hi, friends!

May is my favorite month for a few reasons, primarily that everything is finally turning 1000’s of shades of green and that the 15th is my birthday (and this year the 15th is also the ChesCo Half and 5k!). I set monthly goals each month, but I think it’d do me good to make them public, so here goes:

Monthly Goals – May Edition

Blog More

I have a tendency to overbook myself–I write in my paper planner at the beginning of every week and it’s always jam-packed. Instead of hoping for a chance to blog, I’m going to treat blogging like any other appointment: schedule it, do it, feel good.

Keto On

In case you haven’t been keeping up with my Instagram, I’m freaking KILLIN’ it right meow. I was down 8.6 lbs in April, which is so unreal for me. Since restarting my weight loss journey post-car accident, I rarely lose more than 4 lbs in a month. I know it’s a combination of things, so I’m going to keep on keepin’ on with adjusted keto (50-ish carbs a day), working out (lifting + running + volleyball + disc golf), getting in my steps on my Fitbit Blaze, and counting calories on weekdays (with my friends at LoseIt). I’m finally back to having lost 100 lbs, and it just feel so good.

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Work on my Scale Addiction

I’ve always had an issue weighing myself too much. In the last few years, I’ve gotten really good at weighing myself daily, but only “counting it” on weigh-in day, and even better at not losing my shit if the scale is way up (especially if I recently had a cheat meal or what have you). Since getting my Fitbit Aria scale, though, I’m struggling a bit. The scale logs your weight for you every single day, and that’s been making me struggle a bit with regular fluctuations. And by “struggle a bit”, I mean weighing myself like, 900 times in a row. Not healthy; must stop.

Run, Forrest, Run!

Yet another goal where I feel like I’m killin’ it is running. My first 5k of the year is on my birthday, May 15th. We joined the Slyfox Track Club, too, so that we could have access to some fun races at a discounted rate, all while supporting the local running community. It’s so nice having Bird (current nickname for boyfriend) to join me on all of these goals. He isn’t interested in weight loss (he doesn’t need to be, lol) but he’s on board anyways, and that support is so vital to my success. For this goal, I’d like to get three more races scheduled for the next three months.

In non-weight-loss-related-goals, I’m working on:

1. Reading more. I have 8983937058205 books that I have yet to read. I love reading, and I need to be better at making a time commitment to reading instead of Netflix.
2. Volunteering/Chartiable events. We’ve only volunteered once so far this year, and that’s silly. A lot of our volunteering events happen in summer, so it isn’t as though it’s unacceptable, but I’d like to make sure we don’t miss too many opportunities to affect change πŸ™‚

That’s probably more than enough for one month πŸ˜‰

What kind of goals are you working on this month? Let me know below, then let’s kick some butt together!