Tasty AF BBQ ‘No-Meatballs’

imageEvery year, after Thomas’ bodybuilding season ends, we decide to go pescatarian, but it seems like we are more pescatarian than anything almost the entire year now a days. It is a conscious choice that we make together to not only eat healthier, but also help with minimizing our carbon footprint on the earth.

Here is an excerpt from EarthDay.com’s article named About Meatless Monday found here talks about the difference small changes can have on the overall impact on the planet earth and our overall carbon footprint.

“For instance, if over the course of a year you:

  • Ate one less burger a week, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles.
  • Skip meat and cheese one day a week with your family, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for five weeks – or reducing everyone’s daily showers by 3 minutes.
  • Skip steak once a week with your family, it would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for nearly three months.
  • And if the entire U.S. did not eat meat or cheese for just one day a week, it would be the equivalent of not driving 91 billion miles – or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.”

Can you believe that? I find it fascinating that our diet doesn’t only impact our bodies directly, but the environment that we live in. This is why we decide to go vegetarian/pescatarian for a few months each year, but we may stick it out for the entire year if I can come up with some great recipes to hold us over!

Printable recipe The Modern Day Betty Tasty AF BBQ No-Meatballs.

Speaking of great recipes to make you forget about meat, these quinoa and sweet potato bbq no-meatballs are amazing! I like to pair them up with some steamed veggies but if you need a heartier meal you can add cauliflower mash or even on a roll with extra bbq sauce, my favorite is Sweet Baby Rays!  You need to stock up because it is the best!

Tasty AF Quinoa Sweet Potato no meat balls

  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 small sweet potatoes – steamed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese shreds + more for topping
  • S&p
  • 2 Tbsp Smokey or Spicy unsalted seasoning mix (Mrs Dash or @FlavorGod )
  • tsp garlic powder

I cook my quinoa in a rice cooker, which lets me cook a large amount fast. I usually do a 1/1.75 ratio quinoa to water in the rice cooker. I like to multitask as well so I steam my sweet potatoes in the rice cooker, cut in half with flesh upwards, while cooking the quinoa. My rice cooker has a steam basket which makes this easy; you can find it HERE. I use it almost weekly for my meal prep and you can do so much with it.  When cooking it this way they both come out perfect!

When the sweet potatoes and the quinoa are all cooked, scoop out the cooked sweet potato flesh and mash it in a large bowl. Add the quinoa, all of the seasonings, the Parmesan cheese and set aside to cool, I am impatient so I throw it in the freezer for a couple minutes to cool completely, then add the eggs and mix together completely. It is good to let the mix cool  before adding the eggs to ensure they don’t scramble in the hot quinoa. Use a small disher, like this one, and scoop out meatball shapes onto a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil sprayed with coconut oil. Cook in the oven at 350F for 30 minutes until the edges start to brown. Take the quinoa balls out of the oven and toss them GENTLY, and I stress gently, in BBQ sauce (remember the Sweet Baby Rays I mentioned earlier, always a great choice!) then put back in the oven under the broiler until lightly browned on the outside.

Before BBQ Sauce
Before BBQ Sauce

Here is where you can top with a little extra Parmesan and eat them right away OR put them in meal containers with steamed veggies or that cauliflower mash as mentioned. Mangia Taci! (Shut up and Eat as my Grandpa always says)

After BBQ Sauce
After BBQ Sauce

*If you purchase something through one of the links I may earn a small commission, but no worries, it doesn’t cost you a thing. If you would like more info on this, please visit my disclosure here.

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Life of a Competitor – Show Day

The overall winner for Men’s Physique category and new WNBF Pro Card winner goes to competitor #7, Thomas Lazier Jr!! And the crowd goes wild, mainly just me,  but I can’t help it! We have been waiting all day for this news and me, being Thomas’ number one fan, I am ecstatic. But let’s go back to the beginning and let you know all that went down to prepare for this final moment at the INBF Southern Natural Classic in Macon, GA. 

Thomas has been competing for almost 5 years now, so this day of show thing comes almost second nature, but even after all the shows he has done, it is still full of prep, nerves, relaxation, and anticipation. For anyone who competes, they know that this day goes by fast, but it is the big finale of a long and grueling prep full of workouts, morning cardio, carb depletion, consumption of gallons and gallons of water, and saying no to a lot of different temptations that may get in the way of you and that Pro Card.

We started early in the morning, making sure he had everything in his bag, the coolers were packed, and I had all my camera and chargers ready. Let’s first off talk about his bag. Key items for his bag include:

  • Candy for right before going on stage, (do not forget the candy – happened at one show and I’ll never do it again)
  • Pre-workout – which we put in a small funnel container which makes it easy to travel with and you don’t need to bring the whole container
  • Resistance bands for his back stage pump (working his muscles so the blood goes to them and they swell or ‘pump’ to show case that ideal size)
  • Show Numbers – KEY! they won’t be able to identify you on stage without them
  • Board shorts
  • Coconut oil for his body shine – I put his fractionated coconut oil in a small bottle to spray on him which makes it easy and less mess
  • Peanut butter, rice cakes, and honey for a nice snack while he waits back stage

Next we have to make sure the meals were heated in the meal bag, I use a Fitmark bag which I love and use over and over and over, we usually bring his breakfast, two prepped meals for him and one for me, a cold gatorade for him for after the stage, a water for him and couple waters or teas for me, and we are good to go.

Usually, Thomas isn’t that hungry day of the show. I think it is a mixture of nerves, being water depleted, and trying to conserve every ounce of energy for the stage, but he usually tries to eat his first meal of the day right when he gets to the show venue so he had time to relax and let it digest before he has to start getting ready. His breakfast meal consists of Overnight Oats with cranberries and slivered almonds.

There are three key things to do when prepping to jump up on that stage the morning of the show.

  1. Tan or Oil up – In Thomas’ situation, he only uses a light spraying of coconut oil, but in other people’s situation they will do a spray or roll on tan.
  2. Consume your sugar/pre-workout – Thomas likes to eat gummies or Swedish fish and a scoop of pre-workout about 10-15 minutes before the show. I have seen some people drink red wine, or consume other types of quick digesting calories that will help aid in the vascularity and overall look of your muscles. When you deprive your body of those sugars/carbs, it gets excited when it finally gets them and your body uses them for good by making your veins pop and your muscle ‘pump’ larger.
  3. Pump – which is a weird word, but all it really means is go through some resistance band exercises, body weight exercises, or even some light weight exercises to move your blood to some key muscles. Thomas does a cycle of body weight and resistance band exercises and his body really reacts well with these.

Now after he is rubbed down with oil, had his candy, and starts to do his pump exercises, I run out to the audience and get ready to be the ‘photographer’. I usually hold a lot of hats during the day of the show: bag packer, food heater, oil rubber, candy patrol, photographer, cheerleader, and driver. But I love them all! Anything for him on his day.

It all depends on the type of show to know what kind of schedule or flow will be if the actual show. Today it will be two parts, a morning show – Pre-Judging – and an afternoon show – Presentation and Awards. In the morning half of the show, each class of competitors, in Thomas’ Men’s Physique Tall, will come out to center stage together and they will go through different phases of judging. Usually involves a lot of quarter turns and a few changes from one side of the stage to the other. In this class there are four gentleman, all of which will be judge on muscle size, muscle symmetry (how each side of the body is shaped compared to the other and is your upper body symmetrical to the size of your biceps and chest) and presentation (their T-walks – which come at the second half of the show). Once they go through about 50 quarter turns to look at front, side, back, and other side, they exit stage left and go back to their waiting rooms. Usually, if it is a large show, we will watch some of the other competitors, but this show was fairly small, so we headed back to the hotel to rest up for the second half of the show.

This is supposed to be a time for rest for Thomas, but I am ALWAYS the one who ends up passed out on the bed. I told you I hold a lot of hats, give me a break! But he does get some time to just sit and watch tv, eat a meal, drink a little bit of water, and re-group for what is next to come.

After heading back to the venue, we go through the same three step process on getting him ready for the awards ceremony. Oil, Candy, and Pump. Then I run back to the audience to get ready for show time! This time is a little different, they put a bigger effort in letting the competitors show off their hard work and present them to the audience with house music and a bio as they walk their “T-Walk” on stage. This is just a walk to get them from the back of the stage to stage left, center stage, stage right, and back to the back of the stage. Thomas has a specific posing routine he prepped for his show, and he always uses his kiss with both hands as his sign off.


When all of the competitors in his class finish their T-Walk they all come back onto center stage and go through a shorter round of side by side comparisons and then shuffle off stage. When all of the competitors in each of their classes finalize their T-Walks and comparisons it is awards time, the moment we have all been waiting for!

The Men’s Physique Short class came out and they presented their 1st through 4th place winners and then the Men’s Physique Tall class came out, which is Thomas’ class, and they presented the winners for that, and thankfully Thomas took the first place! Then both him and the other 1st place winner for the short class came back up on stage and did their side by side comparisons. This is the moment he worked so hard for, the moment we have been waiting all day for, and they announced the overall winner for Men’s Physique category and new WNBF Pro Card winner goes to competitor #7, Thomas Lazier Jr! Why this is so important, is because not only did he win 1st place bragging rights for this show, he also won overall for the entire Men’s Physique class, and BEST YET, he received his Pro-Card for the Pro Level of this league which means his next show will be a professional show for money earnings. God is Great I tell you! Thomas’ hard work and consistency truly paid off this show!

Since this league is an all natural league, anyone earning their pro card has to take a urinalysis to make sure they don’t have any illegal substances in their system. T said it felt like signing day, but really it is just signing off that you are an all Natural Competitor!

Now time to eat! Mostly all Thomas’ thinks about after a show is water and drinks, but today he had a margarita in mind. So we went to a local Mexican restaurant and he ordered the largest mango margarita they had! Cheers to you T!

What is Microblading? – Feature with Geek the Brow

It seems like throughout the years eyebrows have changed a lot with the trends. They went from skinny lines to big and bushy to well defined to now, microbladed. But what is this somewhat new trend? Microblading by definition “is a form of tattoo artistry where pigment is implanted under your skin with a manual handheld tool instead of a machine,” by elle.com. It is a tattoo of ‘hair like’ sweeps of color that are directly under your natural brow line, or around your brow line to enhance what you have to give you the effect of full, beautiful, ‘I woke up like this’ brows.Geek the Brow

I worked with Chachy Dee, owner of Geek the Brow located in Kennesaw, GA in the Phenix Salon Suites, to give you a deeper look into the process and outcome of microblading your eyebrows. The client who we are spotlighting, who actually happens to be Chachy’s mother, and my boyfriend’s sister, today had a tattoo (with an actual tattoo gun) already done in the past and thought that microblading would be a better option to enhance what she already has, but give a more natural look to her eyebrows with the strokes instead of flat pigment.

With microblading there are 7 steps to the process, the first of which is a consultation. Every person has different needs and wants when it comes to your brows. You may have an empty space in your brow that you always have to fill in, or your brows don’t really grow, so this is the time to talk with your microblading specialist (MS) to see what is the best overall application for you. This also give the MS the chance to identify which color will best suit your natural eyebrow color and give you a chance to fill out your paperwork. Remember, this is treated like a tattoo, so you need to be 18 to get it done.

Applying Numbing CreamLidocaine Cream

Next will be the numbing, Chachy Dee uses a 5% lidocaine cream applied directly onto the area where she will be microblading and then uses a plastic ‘saran wrap’ like material to lay over the brows. This helps heat up the area and makes the lidocaine cream more effective and work quickly. The lidocaine ensures that the pain is very minimal throughout the entire process.

IMG_0002Here you can see all the items necessary for the microblading process. You see the two different colors of pigment, in this situation she mixed two to match the client’s brows, you see the sanitary microblading tool in yellow, the lidocaine, her tattooing gloves, and other items to help with the process.

IMG_0005img_0006.jpgGeek the Brow

Now for the actual blading portion of the process. Chachy Dee uses the microblading tool that is dipped in the ink in the little ring bowl on her finger, and starts to create natural looking hair like pigment streaks on the eyebrows. In this situation, she is using the already great shape of her brow, but building a more pronounced shape by increasing the size of the main portion of the brow and then extending the tail of the brow into a more point. Think about when you are using a brow pencil to fill in your brows, this is the same though process, but instead of adding color, she is adding strokes to mimic the look of real hairs there.

Once she has finished her strokes to build a flawless brow shape, she applies a heavy dose of pigment over the strokes and leaves it to dry. This helps ensure that the storkes absorb the pigment into the skin which then will last for a year plus after it heals properly. Once it dries, she will wipe away the pigment and reveal a beautiful shape. At first it will look very dark, since the pigment is directly revealed and not under healed skin. As the brows heal, the pigment will lighten and blend in naturally with the real brows.

If needed, after the initial reveal, Chachy Dee will look at the brows and see if there are any areas that need to be touched up, or if she needs to build the shape more. This is where an experienced Microblading Specialist is important. You want them to make sure that they are perfect since this lasts a year plus. Chachy Dee takes care with all of her clients and ensures they 100% love their brows when they leave her studio.

Happy CustomerAfter the microblading is complete, and you go home you need to make sure that you take care of your brows! read the instructions given to you after your appointment and stick to them. Chachy Dee and I have started to sell a Microblading Aftercare Roll On which is available below. It is a roller ball with a formula of moisturizing oils and essentials oils to help with healing.

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 11.57.47 AM

Microbladin FAQ from Chachy Dee

  • What is the purpose of microblading? – To either enhance of create eyebrows for a client with thin, unshaped, or non-existent brows
  • Does it hurt? – A numbing agent is used (lidocaine) to provide the best level of comfort possible. Pain is minimal
  • How long does it last? – Up to 1 year, but in some cases it can last up to three
  • Who is it for? – Everyone can benefit from microblading. Whether you’re just wanting to fill on sparce area  or would like a whole brow created, for example: patients undergoing chemotherapy or battling alopecia
  • How much is it? – $325
  • What is included? – A consultation, your initial session, and a 4 week touch up to fine tune the shape
  • How can I book my appointment? http://fb.com/geekthebrow/book OR (786) 490-6190

Here are a few other before and afters. Go check out Chachy Dee’s Business IG page here.

Geek the Brow

DIY – Lavender Linen Spray

I currently work in an all-natural spa on the weekends and the other day this woman came in and asked me about a lavender pillow spray. We didn’t have any in stock, so I did some research and found a bunch of people have made it with the same formula so I wrote it down for her, gave her a bottle of our lavender essential oil, and sent her on her way to make it.

Later that day when I got home I decided I needed that lavender pillow spray and I was going to make it, so here is a quick how to on a universal linen/couch spray, that you can use with any combos of essential oils that you prefer.

Linen Spray

What you will need:

  • Lavender essential oil – we make individual sized ones from large bottles of the oils at the spa, but you can easily use this one.
  • Witch Hazel – Or you can use alcohol, a combination of both, or vodka, but I prefer the witch hazel since it is less harsh than alcohol and when used on your pillow, I feel like it will be better for your face and complexion.
  • Water – I used a bottle of water, the Atlanta water seems to have a lot of red clay sediments, and I want this to last a long time if I don’t use it right away.
  • Finger pump spray bottle – this was NOT easy to find at a store, I went to Dollar Tree and CVS and they didn’t have them, and then went to Walmart as a last resort and they only had one! So I had to take a cheap perfume and clean off the label so I could make two.
  • Funnel – this is only necessary if you don’t think you will be able to pour out of your container into the small bottle.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a natural astringent used for many, many years. I like to use the Witch Hazel that doesn’t contain any alcohol in it on my face because you can use it around your eyes, the one picture above, is acceptable for your face but make sure you do not use it around your eyes. I also have the lavender witch hazel spray that I like to use on my face before bed. You can use it on your body, like your back or booty, as well if you have any breakouts.

Pour in 6 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of witch hazel into a container, mine has a corner to make it easier to pour into the spray bottle, but you can always use a funnel if you don’t have something with a pour spot or you don’t feel like you have a steady hand to pour with out spilling.

I would put 8-12 drops of essential oils, lavender in this case, directly into the small spray bottle, because the water/witch hazel mixture makes enough for two bottles. I also put 6 drops of eucalyptus and 6 drops lemon grass in the other bottle to make a couch spray. Pour in the water/witch hazel mixture to fill up the bottles. With my couch spray, I added more water to top it off just so I would have a full bottle. Shake and start spraying!

Lavender Essential Oil

The lavender essential oil is great on your linens because it is a relaxing/calming scent that helps with restful sleep. I like to use the eucalyptus/lemon grass mixture on my couch to cover up the lingering dog smells in the home and I just love it smelling like a spa when I walk in.

Let me know if you try any of these! I’d love to know your favorite essential oil combos that you use in your home.

 

90 days left of 2018 – What will you do with the rest of the year to improve your daily life?

Did you know today, October 1st, means there are only 90 days left in 2018? That means only 52 days until Thanksgiving and only 85 days until Christmas! What are you going to do with the rest of your year?

Studies have shown that it only takes 21 days to create a habit, so essentially by the end of the year you could have 3 different positive habits instilled into your daily life. You could start waking up an hour earlier to enjoy a cup of coffee in peace before work, wake up early and do 30 minutes of cardio, start reading a book before bed, or set up a daily cleaning schedule for your home. The sky is the limit as to which kind of habits you want to start, but all you have to do is start!

My goal for the rest of the year is to start reading more, specifically when I wake up earlier (that is also part of the goal – turn myself into a morning person). Here are a few that I recently purchased.

  1. Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition by Kawasaki, Guy
  2. The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Holiday, Ryan
  3. Jack Canfield’s Key to Living the Law of Attraction: A Simple Guide to Creating the Life of Your Dreams by Canfield, Jack
  4. Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success by Hill, Napoleon
  5. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Cardone, Grant

If you have read any of these books, please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts! Make the rest of 2018 great, it will go by faster than ever. Make sure you take the time to write down a few goals, create a few positive habits to change, maybe even a negative one to break, and put all your effort into making your life better!

If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.
-Colin Powell

 

International Coffee Day – Let’s all Celebrate!

International Coffee Day

Did you know that International Coffee Day was a day created to celebrate the journey of coffee from the farm to the local shops around us? It is really about honoring the men and women who grow the coffee beans all over the world and their hard work to get us that perfect cup of coffee each day. Like most people, I love me a good cup of coffee in the morning and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it without them. So please take a second and look at the International Coffee Day website to see a little more about their efforts and how they celebrate.

I am celebrating with an Almond Milk Caramel Latte: two shots of espresso, a couple pumps of caramel syrup, and a cup of steamed vanilla almond milk. Yuummmmm

Here’s how I make it:

Perfect Latte IngredientsI am using a fancy espresso machine, because where I work, they value coffee and give us the benefit of using this daily, but you can use a stovetop espresso maker like this one which comes in a 1 cup, 3 cup or a 6 cup version. This is the version that I use at home. For my first and usually only cup of coffee in the morning, I use 2 shots of espresso freshly ground and brewed, but you can use 1 if you like. It is all up to you and how much caffeine you want to consume.

I then steam a cup of milk, using the same fancy espresso machine, but this one is the one I use at home and absolutely love! It cleans up really well, works quickly and you have the option to make steamed hot or cold frothed milk (just in case you want iced coffee instead of hot). It is well worth the month and will last you forever. If you don’t want to buy a milk frother/steamer and only want to froth, buy this. It is a quick handheld milk frother and will do the job perfectly if you want a cheaper option.

I put two pumps of caramel syrup, (you can get the pump that goes with the syrup here) my two shots of espresso, and my steamed milk. You can top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and then you must take a moment to enjoy! It is a great morning pick me up.

Here’s to coffee!

Enjoying the City of Brotherly Love with my City Boy, Thomas

Thomas, my lovely boyfriend, was born in Miami, but grew up for the most part in the burbs of Philadelphia. This month we finally took a trip together to go see the city that shaped him. I already gave you a look into all the food we ate, well I shouldn’t say ALL, the really good stuff that everyone is familiar with. If you missed that post go check it out! Well today I am going to show you a little of our adventures!

Midwest Betty and her City BoySo a little back story, Thomas and I have been living in a long distance relationship since April, so traveling has been mostly him back and forth from Miami to Atlanta and back again. But this time, he actually flew to Atlanta to ‘pick me up at the airport’ to fly to Philly. Well actually, his connection flight just so happened to be the flight I was getting on in Atlanta to go to Philly, so it worked out! I was even able to talk to the flight attendant to get us seats together, DOUBLE WIN!

Plane RidesOur first day while we were in Philly we had two things on our checklist 1. Meet up with Thomas’ really good friend Mugg 2. Go see Thomas’ Mother. Check. Check. It is always good linking up with family and friends and friends who are pretty much family. It always seems like with the right people, time never passed since you last spoke. We toured his friend’s new fixer upper and had me mesmerized wanting to buy a home asap and turn it into exactly what I want! Soon enough we will be in the same city planting some roots.

Now I told you Thomas is a bodybuilder, right? Well he is and you know what that means! Workouts everyday, no matter what. On our second day we had so much planned, but it all had to start with a great shoulder and calf workout at the local LA Fitness. It is great to have an LA Fitness membership because most of the time when traveling we are able to get into a gym with out multi club pass. If we were at a smaller gym, we wouldn’t have that luxury, and for his line of work, bodybuilding, a gym is necessary no matter where or what kind of trip we are on. Post workout, we fueled up at the convenience store named Wawa. If you are from the area, or anywhere close, you know what I am talking about. They have everything you could think of in a gas station/convenience store and then some. I got a specialty caramel coffee drink, and we both got two veggie and egg breakfast burritos.

I said we had a lot planned for this day, and I meant a LOT! After we were done at the gym, Wawa, and got cleaned up we set out to be tourists! I lucked out and had my very own tour guide, so I go the local look into Philadelphia. First stop on our touristy tour was the Comcast Building downtown Philadelphia where Thomas’ cousin works. She was able to give us a great tour of the building and we even treated us to lunch in one of their extravagant kitchens. When I tell you buffet on steroids, I mean it! I had sushi, with a salad and a dessert of jelly bellies.

COMCAST HQ

When you first walk into the Comcast building, there is a huge LED screen that has people ‘walking on walls’ and dancing around and then there are different art exhibits on the steel framing within the glass structure. It is a very cool site to be at and all the people walking in and out of the building make you feel like you are at the center of something great. We went up to the 43rd floor where they have these well known glass stairs cascading down by their huge windows. What a view! Even with the crappy weather, you had a great sight line through Philadelphia.

Glass Stairs at Comcast HQ

But the fun and touristy stuff didn’t stop there! We had to go experience the iconic ‘Rocky Steps’ which is actually the steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but no one really knows that. Now you know!

It was great, there was a guy who was taking pictures of everyone in front of the Rocky Statue, so we were able to get a few great shots. Thomas said my guard is to low, but I would bet a few bucks on me! I am scrappy! Of course we couldn’t be at the steps without recreating the iconic photo of Rocky on the steps with his hands in the air. Thankfully the rain stayed away long enough for us to get some great photos in.

IMG_4584Of course our next stop had to be the Philadelphia Love statue, and what better way to remember the statue with some love in front of it. xoxo I must say that I was a little let down, I had thought that this statue was going to be huge, but essentially it is no larger than maybe 5ft x 5ft a top of a silver frame. Even though the size was smaller than expected, it is pretty cool because it has history. It has been with Philadelphia since 1976 and built by Robert Indiana. If you want to learn more about it check out their website or go check it out in Love Park in Downtown Philadelphia.

Here is a great shot of Thomas in the middle of Love park rocking his custom Miami Cities shirt, made by me! Thomas in Love Park.jpg

After a full day of touristy stuff, we were able to get back to his childhood home, spend some time with family, shop for some odds and ends, and then eat through Philly. If you want to see what we ate while essentially eating our weight in Philly’s goodies, check out my recent blog post – ‘Eating our way through Philadelphia’s Favorites‘.

Our second full day of Philadelphia wasn’t as packed as the first, but it was still a lot of fun. We started in the gym, that goes without saying, this time we had a hamstring workout that included core, and cardio. After that it was time to see one of our great friends and do a little shopping! We checked out the Limerick outlets. It was more to catch up with our friend, but of course I did a little shopping. I moved to Atlanta in March and am expecting my first winter in years, so I needed to buy some fall attire. Then we ended the night with close friends and family with an amazing spread by Thomas’ mother and friends. Nothing like a great Family Dinner.

Have you ever had ‘raw greens’? I am not sure if that is the correct name, but it is raw greens, raw garlic, some seasonings and vinegar/oil. It is a topping or a side for meals. Thomas’ mother makes it and it is supposed to be extremely healthy. It is spicy because of all the raw garlic, but the benefits outweigh the spiciness. Garlic can reduce blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, and has a bunch of other great benefits.

Saturday Track Workout

Since Thomas’ cousin showed us an amazing time on our first day in Philly, we thought we would show her to a great workout on the track with us first thing Saturday! We had an intense workout at the track of the high school Thomas graduated from. It is always fun to be able to walk the same steps he did back in the day when he was a younger man. We did a cardio/body weight circuit workout that involved the track and the stairs. We had smiles at the end of it but we put in a lot of work throughout the workout.

The last day was a slower day. We spent the day enjoying family, catching up with a cousin Thomas hasn’t seen in years and old high school friends that came to link up before we flew out. I must say it was a great trip, even though the weather wasn’t the best, I know we will be able to make it up here soon and see even more of the city.

7527005184_IMG_0064Sunday came to soon, and not only did we have to make our good byes to the city and family, but we also had to say our goodbyes to each other. Thomas was on his way back to Miami and I was on my way back to Atlanta. We shall see each other soon. IMG_4667

Goodbye Philly, thanks for treating us so well!

Take a Bite out of Unnatural Toothpaste – Or just use all natural Bite toothpaste bits, either way!

BITEA few weeks back I fell upon this advertisement on Instagram for an all natural alternative to toothpaste that came in small ‘toothpaste bits’ as they called it, and didn’t come in a tube. So of course I continued to watch and saw that they are not only an all natural company, but trying to limit their carbon footprint and working on cutting down the overall plastic waste for their consumers, so clearly now I am intrigued! I clicked on the ad that brought me to their website and I ordered right away.

BITE.jpg

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure below.

Now it did take a while for the product to get to my door, but they did leave a disclaimer on their website to warn you that this would happen. They are a small company, and their demand has taken a turn for greatness, which in turn makes the production a little slower than they expected. But let me tell you, it is worth the wait! The customer service team is also very nice, which helps out the cause as well. Nothing worse than having a delayed ship date because a product is back ordered AND the customer service team is terrible! That’s a recipe for disaster.

When the product finally came to the house, I was pleasantly surprised. It is a small glass bottle, that you can re-use with the refills they send out in the monthly subscription. When you order you either choose this bottle or the subscription plan, I have inquired and waiting for a response, to see if you can only but the re-fills, since I bought the single bottle initially to try and not the 6 month plan. The cute little bottle was full of tiny ‘toothpaste bits’ a little smaller than the size of a sixlet, some may remember the small choclately candy you ate as a child.

7589871984_IMG_0104As you see pictured here, I ordered the Mint Charcoal version. They also have just Mint.

Now by no way am I an expert on the following, but I did some googling and was happy with what I found. The ingredients are pretty awesome too. Xylitol and Erythritol, which are natural sweeteners that can be found in some fruits and vegetables is combined with Dicalcium phosphate, which is used to make it into a tablet form, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, which I read is a foaming agent so I believe this is what helps the tablets foam (see pictures below), Kaolin, which is a natural clay mineral, (baking soda) which has been used forever to help clean and whiten teeth naturally, Organic mint flavor, Magnesium Stearate  and Silicon dioxide, which helps to clean the teeth. So in all the ingredients may look scary, but they are all natural ingredients that work together to make sure you have a clean and healthy mouth!

Per the Bite FAQ sheet the ingredients are listed below for both types:

Mint : Xylitol · Erythritol · Dicalcium phosphate · Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate · Kaolin · Sodium Bicarbonate · Organic Mint Flavor · Magnesium Stearate (Vegan) · Silicon Dioxide
Mint Charcoal :   Xylitol · Erythritol · Dicalcium phosphate · Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate · Kaolin · Charcoal  · Sodium Bicarbonate · Organic Mint Flavor · Magnesium Stearate (Vegan) · Silicon Dioxide

Now back to testing the product!
I popped in a ‘bit’ and chewed, and trust me at first I was kind of weirded out, it was softer than I expected, kind of gritty, crumbled right away, and to myself I thought ‘there is no way that this will act like a toothpaste’. I put my toothbrush under the water so it was wet as instructed by the website and also habit for brushing teeth and just started to brush. Low and behold it foamed! It foamed a lot, and it tasted slightly sweet and minty. I did my normal minute and a half/two minutes and spit it out, rinsed, and was happy. I actually loved using it.

I now use the product daily, but I am sad that their website currently says they are sold out. Hopefully they will get back to selling it QUICK or I will have to go back to regular toothpaste, and I don’t know how I will cope. (EDIT: They are back to selling again, run now to get their products while they last)
Since you can’t buy this product today, let’s chat real quick about other ways you can do your part to help save the environment! Here are a four things you can do or buy TODAY, to start you on a path of making more conscious efforts to lessen your impact on the environment and begin to take out the unnatural chemicals from your teeth cleaning regimen:
  1. Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush – Charcoal is all the rave right now because it is a natural teeth whitener, but pared with this biodegradable bamboo toothbrush, it makes for an excellent option for a environmentally friendly toothbrush. The plastic ones, unfortunately like the one I am using today, is not biodegradable and will probably sit in a landfill somewhere for the rest of my life and my future kids life. Note to self, buy a bamboo toothbrush TODAY! This bamboo toothbrush on the other hand will breakdown over time in the landfill along with the packaging it comes in, can’t say the same about the Amazon shipping package, but baby steps!
  2. Charcoal powder – Now this I have and LOVE and my boyfriend, Thomas, loves it! I use it about 2-3 times a week. It is all natural activated charcoal that you can use in the bathroom as a teeth whitener (after brushing your teeth, dip your toothbrush in a little jar of this charcoal, brush your teeth like you would normally, and let it sit on there for a minute or two, rinse and see the immediate difference). But don’t limit yourself just to the bathroom, you can use it in the kitchen too! I have seen charcoal cocktails, lemonades, ice creams and many more. The sky is the limit.
  3. Natural mouthwash – This is a mouthwash you can feel proud about using. It is made with organic herbs, CoQ10, Olive Leaf, & Folic Acid that help with fighting off bad breath, it is alcohol free to save you from the normal burn of mouth wash, and has no artificial sweeteners or preservatives. Try it out! But try to buy a large quantity, and store them in cute glass containers in your bathroom, help cut down on plastic waste AND give a little extra design touch in your bathroom. 
  4. Glass Cup – Swap out those disposable paper cups for a reusable bamboo/glass cup for your bathroom. Most of the time when a paper cup is lined with a waterproof coating, they cannot be recycled. So you may think you are helping the environment by recycling the paper cups, but they may not actually get recycled! Something to think about.

If you take anything from this today, let it be that a small change from just a 100 people,  can add up to a large impact overall. We all have to start small and build from there, not only our food choices, but the way we purchase items, to how we live our life. Think of the bigger picture, your future family will thank you.

I feel more confident than ever that the power to save the planet rests with the individual consumer.

– Denis Hayes

Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement for BITE Toothpaste bits, I just loved it so and thought you may too! Enjoy!

Eating our way through Philadelphia’s favorites

Everyone knows that when you think of Philadelphia, PA food, you think of cheese steaks, but did you know they are equally known for their pretzels and their water ice? Thomas, my boyfriend, was born in Miami but raised in Philadelphia, and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have known about the last two, which in my opinion are the best two! So here is a look how Thomas and I ate our way through Philadelphia’s favorites.

So let’s go back to this pretzel thing. Not only are they known for pretzels, but they eat them in the breakfast like bagels or donuts! Instead of bringing a dozen donuts to the office, someone will run to the nearest Pretzel Factory and grab a dozen pretzels. In my opinion, I think it is a little weird, but I am also the one who argues with Thomas that Donuts are a breakfast and not a dessert, so I guess regional ‘breakfasts’ are up to debate.  We ended up going to Philly Pretzel Factory in Abington, Pa and was pleasantly surprised. We walked in and you could smell the fresh pretzels! You can even see them being made to the right of us through a big glass window.

Philly Pretzel Factory - Rivets Shaker
phillypretzelfactory.com

I ordered a rivet shaker with cheese sauce, a cinnamon pretzel twist with a pumpkin spice dipping sauce, and Thomas ordered two Beef Pretzel dogs. I was pleasantly surprised! The rivets were soft and not to salty and paired really well with the cheese sauce. The cinnamon pretzel, although great tasting, wasn’t the softest, but the pumpkin spice frosting dip was good. But ultimately, I think my favorite was the beef pretzel dog with a little yellow mustard on it! Delicious! I was actually craving another one of those the whole rest of the trip.

Now the next place we went to is truly a Philly staple and has broadened it’s reach by moving into Virginia, Ohio, Georgia and even Florida. This has to be, by far, my favorite, and clearly Thomas’ favorite too, Philly eat, Rita’s Italian ice, or as the Philly’s call it Rita’s Water Ice. They have combine an old favorite of Italian ice with amazing flavors and the option of custard to make the most delicious, cold treat for the summer. Unfortunately, it is closed in the winter, so if you hurry now, you may get to it before they close!

Rita's Misto Shake and Mango Water Ice

Thomas and I both got the Cotton Candy Misto Shake, which is the cotton candy Italian ice mixed with vanilla custard, and I also got a small Mango Italian ice to go. I have to say I just looooooove Rita’s. They are consistent with their amazing flavors, they mix just the right amount of vanilla custard with the cotton candy Italian ice to make it a sweet and decadent dessert, especially after the salty pretzels. And my mango Italian ice was just as good a couple days later in the freezer, when I decided to indulge on it. If you are ever on the East coast in the PA/VA area, this place is a must try!

Joe's Steaks + Soda ShopLast and not least, the food that is the most known for Philly, the Philadelphia Cheese Steak. Now we didn’t want to eat just any other cheese steak, so we asked Thomas’ long time friend Mugg to give us the best cheesesteak place, and he said Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop because they use a great cut of meat, they are consistently good, and worth the little drive from the burbs.

Friday at about 9:30PM our plans had fallen through, and we decided that we would take the 30 minute drive to go out to Joe’s in Fishtown to try them out. Never having a true AUTHENTIC Philly cheesesteak, I was excited! We drove out there down broad town, and enjoyed a little tour of Philly and got there and found easy parking. Now, my situation isn’t going to be the same as everyone else’s but I am particular when it comes to my cheesesteaks, I do NOT do onions. I asked the lady who was taking our order, may I please have the Philly cheesesteak with mushrooms and no onions, and she said yes! we can definitely do that for you, so I was sold. I had ordered the cheesesteak with wiz, because that’s what the locals do, and mushrooms with an old fashioned orange soda and a large order of Old Bay French Fries, Thomas ordered the chicken cheesesteak. We sat down at the cute diner booth and waited for our order to come in. After about 10 minutes, we were given our to go bag and we set on the 30 minutes trek back up to the burbs.

Cheesesteaks and Old Bay Fries from Joe's
joessteaks.com

 

We got home and started to grub, and immediately I was saddened. Not only did they forget to leave off onions, they were everywhere and they had been melding with all the other flavors of the cheesesteak, that even after I picked them all off, the lingering taste was still there. It was not the Philly cheesesteak experience I was hoping for. Even thought they left the onions on there, I know that it had the makings of being an amazing sandwich, so I can’t write them off completely! The bread was soft and warm, the cheese wiz had melted into the meat and bread, and you can tell the cut of meat, like Mugg had suggested, was a great choice. There wasn’t any gristle, and cooked perfectly. So all in all the experience was ok, if I lived there I would give them another chance, but next time I go there I will try someone else out.

Post Onion Eviction Shot

Although I gained two pounds, and indulged a little to much, our vacation was a great experience trying out the Philly favorites. If you visit Philly, please check these places out!

Quick Breakfast to the Rescue – Quick Egg ‘Muffins’

Picture this: you overslept, have to take the dogs out, two handsome Frenchies in my case, the boyfriend is hogging the bathroom sink, your shirt you wanted to wear is in the washer and you are starving.  There isn’t anytime to blend a shake or make an omelette so you go into the fridge and find your saving grace! This is the situation where egg muffin cups come to the rescue EVERY time! Without Fail. I like to put 2-3 ‘muffins’ in a small zip lock bag, or reusable small container, so that if I am ever in this situation I can grab a pack, pop it in the microwave for a minutes and go. Here is the printable recipe –  Quick Egg Muffins_The Modern Day Betty.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure below.

IMG_0937

 

So what will you need?

  • 4 16 oz Egg white cartons (you can use egg beaters, but in our household we prefer the whites only)
  • 2 packages Turkey bacon
  • 1 Pint Mushrooms, sliced
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese (more if you are feeling glutinous)

*Add other veggies/meats to switch up the flavor profile (broccoli, onions, peppers, zucchini, sweet potato or sausage/tofu)

Spray two muffin pans with coconut spray, my favorite muffin pan is this one – with it being silicone it makes clean up a breeze, but if you like the metal version this one works great! Then take a piece of the turkey bacon and line the muffin tin, flat side on the top, to make a ring for the egg mixture.

Cut up the remaining slices of bacon and distribute them evenly between each muffin tin, and by evenly I mean eyeball and throw them in there! The more the merrier. Follow with the sliced mushrooms and the cheese, in the same fashion. Sprinkle the s&p.

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*Here is where you can add the other toppings. I prefer to have texture with my veggies, so I do not cook them prior to throwing them in the muffin tin, but if you want less texture, saute them in a little coconut oil then cool and put them in the muffin tin. Sweet potatoes should be cooked ahead! No one wants crunchy sweet potatoes.

Top with the egg whites. I shake and pour straight from the container. This is supposed to be easy isn’t it? Sometimes I use the full 4, and sometimes I use three and change, but it all depends on how much stuff you put in the muffin tins prior to pouring in the egg whites.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 mins, until the eggs rise, and the middle is completely set. You can add a little more cheese after you take them out, but make sure you let them cool before putting them in their container to go in the fridge.

IMG_0935

Nutritional Facts: Per 1 Egg ‘Muffin’ Calories:91 Fat:4 Carbs:1 Protein:11

 

++I use Isolator Fitness 16 oz containers for breakfast. They are durable, last a long time, and are perfect size for breakfasts and snacks. Check out the 28 oz and 38 oz for lunches and dinners.

Quick Egg Muffins_The Modern Day Betty <- Here is the printable PDF version of the recipe.

Quick Egg Muffins

 

*If you purchase something through one of the links I may earn a small commission, but no worries, it doesn’t cost you a thing. If you would like more info on this, please visit my disclosure here.