February Foodie Penpals Reveal Day

Hi Friends!

It’s time for another Foodie Penpals Reveal day!!

FPP post February Foodie Penpals Reveal Day


This month I received my box from Sarah @ Picky Runner. Sarah and I have been interacting a bit on Twitter lately so I was super excited to hear she’d be sending me a box!

So what did she send me?!

fppfeb1 February Foodie Penpals Reveal Day

A great box of goodies from Trader Joe’s and Fresh Market that included:

  • Peanut Butter Energy Chews
  • Veggie Crisps
  • Rosemary & Olive Oil Quinoa
  • Seaweed Snacks
  • Freeze Dried Blueberries
  • Dark Chocolate Covered Powerberries

How was everything?

  • The pb chews were delicious and made a great after-work snack.
  • I’ve had the veggie crisps before and they’re a fun way to change up my snack routine.
  • I’m saving the quinoa for a special occasion since it’s a little fancier than my usual plain quinoa.
  • The freeze dried blueberries are interesting! I’m putting some in my next batch of Frozen Yogurt Bites.
  • I just can’t get into the seaweed snacks. I keep trying…but I’m kinda creeped out icon smile February Foodie Penpals Reveal Day

Hands down star of the box: The dark chocolate covered berries. They’re amazing in my daily trailmix snack!

Thanks so much Sarah for a great package!


Are you interested in joining us for Foodie Penpals next month? Here are some more details:

  • On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
  • Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for November, please CLICK HERE  to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.

You must submit your information by March 4th as pairings will be emailed on March 5th!

*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE to signup.


Wanna see what other Foodie Penpals received this month? Check out the links below for other reveal day posts!


Weekly Eats 15

Hi Friends!

Time for a quick Weekly Eats post! Here’s what we’ve been eating lately.

Breakfasts and Lunches

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1. Post crossfit breakfast: sauteed spinach, green peppers, onions and black beans w/ avocado, eggs, pear, toast and salsa.
2. French toast, eggs, hash browns and fruit a la hubby!
3. Greek black bean burger over spaghetti squash with fresh mozz and avocado…plus a pear and some chips.
4. Tuna quinoa cakes with an egg, cottage cheese and fruit for hubby

My Lunches

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1. Fritatta wrap with cheese and avocado, pear and spag squash
2. Salmon taco salad, chips and salsa, carrots and hummus, pear
3. Shrimp spring rolls, plantain chips, spag squash w/ black bean balls, green beans
4. Salad with quinoa, black beans, veggies and a Sweet Potato Quinoa Black Bean Burger with Cranberries, green beans and a pear

Hubby’s Lunches

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1. Shrimp tacos, curried sweet potato soup and fruit
2. Leftover fritatta with a pb sandwich and  fruit
3. Tuna salad sandwich, carrots, yogurt, plantain chips
4. Pb sandwich, eggs, carrots, cottage cheese and fruit


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1. Fritatta with quinoa, beans, red pep & onions & fish chowder
2. Salmon taco salad with black beans and quinoa
3. Sweet Potato Quinoa Black Bean Burger with Cranberries, green beans and chips
4. Curried sweet potato soup with quiona and shrimp spring rolls

Dinners and Desserts

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1. Friday is becoming quesadilla night at our house- sweet potato and black bean with red peppers and onions
2. Curried sweet potato soup with black bean meat(less) balls
{recipe coming soon!}
3. Sometimes you just need a good old fashioned cookie just like mom used to make. Oatmeal scotchies. I mailed some to my dad for his birthday and used this recipe.
4. Strawberry banana “fro-yo”. And yes, i’m still eating a bag of Christmas m&ms

Let’s chat: What’s the best thing you’ve eaten this week?


Smart Snack: Almonds

Hi Friends!

I think I might be developing an obsession with blog series! I’ve been wanting to start up this little series for a while now and I’m finally getting around to it. I get a lot of questions about snacks from my readers. What do I eat for a snack? What are some healthy snacks? What are some on-the-go snacks that I can keep in my bag?

So, I thought it would be fun to do a few spotlight posts on some of my favorite snacks! I’m starting with almonds for a few reasons:

  • They’re a staple in my pantry.
  • Hubby & I eat them every day.
  • They great for your heart.
  • February is National Heart Health month.

Heart Healthy Almonds Smart Snack: Almonds

I’m also using this post as an opportunity to highlight one of my favorite companies: Blue Diamond Almonds.

Blue Diamond will actually be sponsoring my trip to Blend Retreat in May!!!! Yippee!!! More to come on that soon icon smile Smart Snack: Almonds

If you know me, or have been reading my blog for a while now, you know that I’m pretty picky when it comes to the companies I work with. I don’t do a whole lot of sponsored posts and I turn down a lot of opportunities to work with companies simply because they don’t fit with what I believe/don’t fit with this blog.

All that being said, Blue Diamond is one company that I’m proud to work with! I love their products (heck- I buy them even when I’m not working with them) and I love all the people that represent them as a company.

Blue Diamond is a proud supporter of Heart Health month and is encouraging everyone to learn more about the importance of keeping your heart healthy!


So let’s talk about heart health for a minute. I’m sure most of you have heard that almonds are good for your health, and here I am telling you guys what a great snack they make…but do you know why?

BD Can6oz WN New FD Smart Snack: Almonds

Here’s a little background:

The FDA approved the following claim in 2003:

“Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

What exactly does that mean? Not to get all science-y on you but here’s a brief review:

Cholesterol is made up of HDL and LDL, which need to be kept in balance. When LDL is too high, it builds up on cell walls and creates plaque, which can clog blood vessels. This can cut off blood supply to the heart, or plaque can break off and cause blood clots which can lead to heard attacks and strokes. By lowering the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood, you give the HDL a chance to clean up the excess LDL and prevent plaque from building up, thus reducing your risk for heart disease. Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., finding ways to decrease the risk is important.

See why almonds are a great addition to your everyday diet? If you’re still not convinced, here’s a few more benefits of almonds:

  • They’re high in monounsaturated fat
  • They’re a good source of fiber
  • They’re a good source of Vitamin E, Magnesium & Copper
  • They’re a good source of protein
  • They can help improve insulin sensitivity
  • They can help reduce inflammation

Bottom line: Almonds are a smart snack for more reasons than one.

However, there is one thing  you should keep in mind. Almonds are a fairly high calorie snack, so make sure you stick to the correct portion size! A serving is 1 oz. That equals about 23 whole almonds. In that serving, you’ll find about 160 calories, 14 grams of fat (only 1 of which is saturated), 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.

BD Bag16oz WN AHA e1361840036210 Smart Snack: Almonds

So we know why they’re good for you and how many you should eat…all that leaves is HOW you should eat them, right?

A few suggestions:

  • Raw and plain
  • In your trailmix
  • As an oatmeal topping
  • Mixed with yogurt
  • Ground into almond butter

almonds Smart Snack: Almonds

Let’s chat: Do you like almonds? What’s your favorite way to eat them?


PS…Blue Diamond is also having a fun little Instagram contest in honor of National Heart Month! It’s super simple. Here what you do:

  • Take a picture of your almonds in the shape of a heart
  • Upload to instagram and post the picture with the hashtag #bluediamondhearts

That’s it. If you do that, you’re automatically entered to win one of four Polar heart rate monitors and a Blue Diamond products giftpack!

And while you’re at it, be sure to follow @BlueDiamond on Instagram so you don’t miss out on all the fun pictures they take!

 **This post was sponsored by Blue Diamond. All thoughts and opinions are my own**

Bean Bytes 26

Hi Friends!

It’s Monday again! Time for me to fill you in on some of the best reads from around the blogosphere last week! Hint- There were LOTS of good ones!

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Link Love


A reminder I definitely need several times a year!
The Pursuit of Superwoman via Mommy Run Fast

Three cheers for weightlifting!
Understanding body composition via Run to the Finish

Great ideas to get moving!
34 ways to get in 30 Minutes of Exercise via Food and Fun on the Run

How to pace someone else:
The Art of Pacing (someone else) via Beyond Distance

yummy eats:
Peanut Butter & Banana Stuffed French Toast Sticks via Steph’s Bite by Bite
Choreos via Little Bitty Bakes


Great tips for eating on a budget:
11 Ways to save money and eat well on a budget via Tales from the Kitch

Important to note:
Yes you can eat too much fruit and dairy via The Candid RD

Great post! VERY similar to what I do:
How to make a quick and healthy weeknight dinner via Fannetastic Food

Have some fun in the kitchen:
How to infuse olive oil via Wannabe A Country Cleaver

Agree one million percent:
There is no perfect body via Perfection Isn’t Happy

Men & Women are different:
Spousal envy: why men lose weight faster via Lifting Revolution

Great ideas for kids!
Indoor Exercise Games for Kids via Momma Young & Friends

NEED this:
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Gingersnap Crust via Vegetarian Ventures


Looooove this:
Better than the Alternative Tuesday: Weight via Run Stronger Every Day

Yikes! Always forget about this:
Facebook’s Other Folder via Katy Widrick

Some great points:
Don’t buy nutrients via A Healthy Slice of Life

Consider this:
Things to consider before becoming a fitness instructor via Fitness Perks

On running & dogs:
6 tips for running with your dog via Food and Fun on the Run


Educate yourselves!
Go Red & Blog Your Heart Out via Nutritious Eats

Yummy recipes:
Greek Egg Stack with kale via The Little Yellow Kitchen
The Ultimate Loaded Veggie Burger via Edible Perspective

25 Things you don’t have to justify to anyone via Thought Catalog

Amen to this post:
The glorification of sugar via Peas and Crayons

Love this:
6 ways to be the best you via The Shine Project

Great info:
The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Media Kit via Shareaholic

So fun and easy!
How to sprout lentils via Back to Her Roots

Learn more about metabolic testing:
Metabolic testing via Coffee Cake and Cardio

Great tutorial on google reader and bloglovin’
Google Reader & Blog Lovin via Peace Love & Oats


Control your inbox:
Taming the inbox monster via A Foodie Stays Fit

A very powerful post about the power of love:
Pregnant at Fourteen via Miles to Run

Twitter Favs

How to get more traffic from pinterest
5 silent warnings that your life is unbalanced
5 reasons why girls type like thisssss
How to make the most of Pinterest
Setting big goals and the benefit of fear
No one thing
Why you need a social resume and how to build one
15 things that happened 15 years ago
My opinions on various blogging trends
The new mom identity crisis
Simple tips for taking self portraits
4 common running problems and fixes
5 food websites you can’t live without
What 200 calories looks like
The yellow dog project
Relax, you’ll be more productive
Falling in love with the barbell
Tantrum training
7 Reasons why you should do the crossfit games open

Mail Call

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I think we all know how I feel about getting stuff in the mail. I LOVE IT! Clearly, since I started Foodie Penpals.  This past week I got some AMAZING packages. I’m a lucky girl.

Let’s start with my absolute favorite. My girl Elle over at Nutritionella just passed her RD exam. She knows I’ll be taking mine at the end of April, so she sent me her study materials, a study survival pack and some of her own tips for passing the test. I was literally just thinking on my way home on Friday about how i’d need to order some study materials and voila- when I got home, that package was on my doorstep! I LOVE HER!!!

Shannon over at Badass Fitness sent me a little surprise Valentine’s package that included a fun new toy. Have you guys heard of the Jawbone UP? Some of you might remember how much I liked my Fitbit. Well, it went through the wash about a month ago so i’ve been without it. I’m excited to try this out as a replacement. I kinda like that you can wear it as a bracelet- it’s pretty stylish! I’ll let you know what I think. I got this package to introduce my to the #meetmaxwell iniative. You can learn more about it in Shannon’s post.

My friends at Cascadian Farm sent me a simplicity kit! It included lots of great products that help you live a simple life:

I’ve gotta say I am SO PUMPED about some of these items! I’ve been wanting a Bento Box forever. The multiple containers in one box are perfect for the kind of lunches I pack. I also tried out the water bottle. I like glass bottles but some of them are super heavy. This one is stylish and fairly lightweight! The People Towel is also really cool. We use a lot of paper towels and these are a fun alternative that are great for the environment!

Finally, Chobani sent me some of their newest flavors- banana and pear! I got to try banana at FNCE last year but I’m super pumped to try pear!

Scenes from the Week

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My valentine’s flowers are still going strong.

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1. I’m addicted to sunrises. So pretty.
2. Quick tip: If you pull the nub off an avocado and it’s still green underneath, then it should be green inside. If it’s brown, it’s probably overripe and brown inside.
3. Puppy snuggles and cat laundry. Hubby took the sheets off the bed and Marcus wasn’t interested in moving.
4. Wild Friday night!

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Sometimes I do get out of my workout clothes on the weekend icon smile Bean Bytes 26

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Lap cat!

In the News

 How to workout after sickness, surgery or injury
Nutrition is not just counting calories
Is wheat-free the new Adkins?
Food retailers underestimating calorie content
Healthy Sleep, Healthy Diet
Are only children to blame for the obesity crisis?
Sugar free and diet sodas linked to diabetes 


Did anybody do food prep this weekend?!

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Don’t forget to send me a pic next time for my Sunday Meal Prep Inspiration series! Check out yesterday’s post (CLICK HERE) if you missed it- lots of great ideas!

Also take a second to check out Saturday’s post and meet my February Sponsors! CLICK HERE! And let me know if you want to be a March sponsor- It’s a great way to get some exposure for your blog! DETAILS HERE.

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Ok, that’s all friends. Have a great week!


Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2

Hi Friends!

Happy Sunday. I can’t tell you guys how excited I am that you guys are loving this new Sunday Food Prep series as much as I am! I got a ton of submissions after last week’s post and every single one was awesome. Keep ‘em coming!

So, are you ready for some inspiration?!

sundayfoodprep2 Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2

Kerry from Healthy Apple-Tite :

I made homemade granola for breakfasts and to mix into chobani, your frozen yog bars which are great as dessert! Hard boiled eggs to snack on & for salads, Chicken & tuna pasta pots to grab for lunches, I then made Buffalo chicken bites to snack on; recipe on my blog! And wholemeal blueberry muffins & your quinoa bars, for snacking or quick breakfasts!

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Deborah from It’s All About Me Fitness :

I started prepping food on Sundays back in March of 2012 when I did my first round of P90X and it has been a practice that has stuck!  I am super busy and this is the only way I can count on having healthy things to eat all week!

This week I made: Butternut Squash Soup, Homemade Pasta Sauce, Steamed Beans for 3 Bean Salad, Baked Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, Brown Rice Asparagus Risotto, hard boiled eggs, and your (to die for) Quinoa Breakfast Bars!

foodprepdeborah Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2

Shannon from Skinny Sometimes :

I started juicing just a couple of months ago and it is so much preparation… especially at 5 o’clock in the morning! To make it less involved in the early hours, I make “juice packs” every Sunday afternoon. Everything is washed and cut for when I wake up and all I have to do is throw it in the juicer and drink.

juice prep e1361128983281 Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2

Tiffany from Love, Sweat & Beers :

I prepped by baking protein pumpkin bars (pictured), cooking chicken breasts, and chopping veggies (pictured).  I also have my computer handy in the kitchen so that I can reference recipes and listen to Pandora while cooking.  It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it!

foodpreptiff1 Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2

Tara at Treble in the Kitchen :

These are all of my cut up veggies for the week for food prep inspiration icon smile Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2  I feel like every little bit helps!!

Food Prep Inspiration Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2

Kasey at Kasey Surfs :

Here is my Sunday Food Prep for this week. My boyfriend and I are digging the veggie soup I’ve been making lately with Organic Low-Sodium tomato soup, organic frozen veggie medley and organic northern beans! So good for cold nights. It cost less than $10 for all of this soup!

SundayFoodPrepkasey Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2

Sara from Fitcupcaker :

Here is my food prep for this week: I made Moroccan insprired quinoa salad- From Katheats.com. With leftover quinoa I made Quinoa Raisin Granola Bars. I also made Paleo Pumpkin Walnut Muffins- great for breakfasts or snacks on the go! I am a nurse and I work long hours so I am always on the go! I always make a BIG salad that I can easily put in a container and take for lunches. I bought lots of avocado for salad topping and for tuna/avocado/egg salad icon smile Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2 And I made tuna patties!Great reheated for lunch!

meal prepping 1 Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2

Cherie from Cherie Runs This :

No recipes. icon smile Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2 It’s just all clean-eating foods–I have roasted chicken, quinoa, asparagus, broccoli, tilapia, shrimp, paleo banana bread muffins, protein waffles, chicken and tuna salads {made with Greek yogurt}, almonds and red grapes in there.

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Ashley from My Cats and I (Cooking) in Chi :

I recently started doing weekend food prep when I decided to change the way that I eat. I eat about 5 meals a day, so I need a lot of food that is easy to grab. My food prep does not change much from week to week. This weekend I have prepped:

  • Carrots
  • Washed and spun lettuce
  • Chopped red peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Hardboiled eggs (I bake them)
  • Asparagus
  • Chicken
  • Homemade Greek yogurt

The carrots will be for my afternoon snack, along with some hummus. The HB eggs will be my morning snack along with a piece of fruit. I have a really exciting life and eat salad at least 5 days a week for my lunch so I will use the lettuce, red peppers, cucumbers, chicken, and asparagus for my salads. The Greek yogurt may end up being one of my snacks, a breakfast, or a substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream in something else.

I will also be using some of the chicken for a dinner of polenta pizza this week! Non-food items that I also prep on the weekend include plenty of cold, filtered water in my fridge to encourage staying hydrating and vitamins and supplements that I take daily. Having everything prepped leaves me with no excuse to not eat healthy snacks and lunches! It also allows me a little bit of time to make dinners that might take a little longer.

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Kristy :

I always tend to cook more on Sundays, which provides leftovers for Monday and maybe Tuesday if we’re really stretching things… but this is the first time I’ve prepped lunches and snacks for the week.  So excited to have the extra time in the mornings before I leave for the hospital for the day.  No early-morning tedious meal planning necessary! icon smile Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2

I made:

  • Quinoa Breakfast Bars (with Michigan cherries instead of craisins)
  • A whole Spaghetti Squash
  • Roasted the squash seeds (why have I never cooked these before? Yum!)
  • Egyptian Fava Beans cooked with onion, tomato, tahini, garlic, cumin, and lemon juice
  • Chopped carrots for snacking

foodprepkristy Sunday Food Prep Inspiration 2

Aren’t these ladies so impressive? I love the wide variety of food that’s being prepped! I decided to cap each post at about 10 submissions…otherwise this post could go on for days! Check back next Sunday for more ideas.

Are you prepping food today? If so, be sure to snap a pic and send it to me. Here’s what I need from you:

Email me the following:
1. Your Name
2. Your Blog URL (if you have one)
3. A photo of your food prep
4. A short description of what’s in the photo. Tell me what you prepped and how you’re going to use it during the week!

Every Sunday, I’ll post a roundup of the photos I received that week so that you guys can see what others are preparing and hopefully get some inspiration and ideas! I’ll keep this series going for as long as I receive photos, so send one every week if you want to!

Send to: theleangreenbean <at> gmail <dot> com

Let’s chat: Did you get any good ideas from this post?!