April Bestowed Package

Woohoo!! It’s that time of the month again. Bestowed time, that is.

hello, beautiful!

hello, beautiful!

Bestowed is a monthly delivery program of healthy living products – mainly food with some beauty and fitness thrown in. This package makes my day whenever it arrives, and today did not disappoint.

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Yay goodies!!! Inside April’s package were….

Balance Bar, Dark Chocolate Coconut – I’ve never had a Balance Bar before, but they are a very high protein and relatively high fiber bar for a pretty reasonable amount of calories (this one had 180). They are also gluten free. And did I mention they are chocolate flavored?! The package had one actual Balance Bar and a coupon for a free one with the purchase of two more.
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Flapjacked Protein Pancake Mix – This item came at a very appropriate time given my recent interest in protein pancakes (see here and here). This mix is made with all natural ingredients and hearty grains like quinoa and oats. They’re also very high in protein with 17g per serving!
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BobbySues Nuts – The BobbySues Nuts company was founding by two entrepreneurs (female, btw) with the goal to make tasty, nutritious nuts but ALSO to help animals. A portion of every sale dollar goes towards building animal shelters and helping animals in need. This package of nuts is a mix of almonds, pecans, and cashews coated with meringue and spices.
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Zeel, $25 Credit – Okay, so this item was a little weird. It’s a $25 credit for Zeel, a massage-on-demand company. Basically, you call them, and then one of their licensed masseuses come to your home to give you a massage. As if it wouldn’t be weird for my roommates to come home and find me being massaged in the living room?! Second, it is only available to people living in NYC and the surrounding boroughs. I live in neither of those places, so this item is essentially worthless to me. Very disappointing, very disappointing indeed.
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Cocomama Quinoa Cereal – This item is so good it redeemed the package from the Zeel disaster. This is a pre-made package of quinoa cereal, breakfast style. All you need to do is empty the package, heat it in the microwave, and add some nut butter (I added that last part).
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ips Egg White Chips – I have no idea what to expect from these things. I can’t say that the sound of ‘egg white chips’ is too appealing to me, but after examing the bag I decided not to knock it til’ I’ve tried it. These chips boast that they are crunchy, high in protein, and contain half the fat of regular chips. I’ll give you an update after I try them.
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And there you have it, the April Bestowed package!

Make sure to check out my other Bestowed posts:March
February
January

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Quinoa and Lentil Soup Mix

Last week, I used two items from the March Bestowed package. The first was the quinoa and lentil soup mix.

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Making the soup was incredibly easy. All you do is combine the package contents with 2 cups of water in a sauce pan and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring constantly:

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When it’s finished, the soup will be pretty thick – there wasn’t a ton of ‘broth.’ I served over spinach and added some black beans and almonds:

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As you can see, it’s not very soup-like, but I thought it was delicious and very flavorful. It would definitely be a good pantry item to have on hand for a quick, nutritious meal.

The second March Bestowed item I used was the happy squeeze smoothie.

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Instead of drinking it straight, I combined it with yogurt and cereal for breakfast.

Step 1: greek yogurt (I use plain fage)

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Step 2: add fiber one, almonds, and smoothie

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I refrigerated the mixture overnight and then ate it in the morning, topped with some granola and almond milk:

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The smoothie added a nice fruity taste to the breakfast, but I don’t think I would have liked drinking it straight – that’s more of a personal preference than due to the taste though.

As always, I enjoyed trying all of the Bestowed products!

In other news…Noah and I also tried Tilia last week.

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We’ve been wanting to try Tilia for a while but have been intimidated to go on a weekend since there always seem to be a really long line (we also took this as an indication that the food would be good). We decided to go on Monday night, and that strategy worked since we didn’t wait for a table at all. Unfortunately, the restaurant was extremely dark and I felt bad using my flash, so I don’t have any pictures….but I will tell you about the food!

To start, I had a spinach salad that came with mushrooms, soft-boiled egg, and parmesan. Noah had flat bread that was served with olive oil and dukka (a mix of middle-eastern spices) to dip in.

For our entrees, I ordered a turkey burger and Noah had Grilled Bison New York Strip. I didn’t try the bison, but Noah said it tasted great. As to the burger – GREAT! The meat was really juicy, and the grilled onions on top added a great flavor. I would have liked some regular lettuce and tomato on there too, but that might have been a little too basic for this sort of establishment. 🙂

We splurged for dessert, and Noah got a butterscotch brûlée while I ordered chocolate cake that came with peanut butter and banana sauce.

Overall, everything was great. The restaurant was also very affordable for the quality of food. It’s a nice enough place though that it seems like you’re supposed to order more than one dish per person, so that brings the bill up fast. That said, I think this is better for a longer, more formal meal rather than a quick bite out. I will keep it in mind for out-of-town guests and celebrations. Bonus: they use many local ingredients!

Bestowed: March

YES.

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It’s time for my March bestowed package. When this beautiful orange box arrives in the mail, it is always one of the best days of the month.

Bestowed is a monthly delivery program of healthy living products – mainly food with some beauty and fitness thrown in. This month’s package was full of lovely surprises.

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Goodies include…

Oloves Hot Chili Mama Olives – I am not an olive fan. In fact, I do not eat olives at all, so this item was fairly disappointing. They are green olives spiced with hot habanero and lemon. I you’re into it, could be a good snack. As for me, I’m looking to give them away. Anyone like olives?
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Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars – These I am very excited about. I like figs as a healthy satisfaction for a sweet craving, and I plan to have these for either breakfast or a snack in the near future.
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Happy Family-Happy Squeeze Smoothie – This is the sort of item I would never buy on my own at the store. I’m happy to try it when I get it in the mail though! The flavor I received was pomegranate, blueberry, and pear. These smoothies are made from all organic ingredients and have 6 grams of protein.
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iTrain $25 gift card – This gift card can be used to buy workouts, downloaded right to your iPod or other MP3 player. I haven’t checked out iTrain at all yet, so I don’t know what sort of workouts they offer or how useful it will be – but I will update you once I get some!
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Nature’s Earthly Choice – Easy Quinoa Lentil Soup Mix – Quinoa + lentils = you can’t go wrong. Even though I love cooking, the appeal of instant foods is difficult to resist sometimes. I’m excited about this product since it will provide a quick meal option without all the sodium and fat that’s usually in prepared foods.
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Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts – Although not as big as chia or flax, hemp is definitely getting more attention in the health-food world these days. I’ve never tried it before, but I’m excited to taste it with yogurt or soup. The package also suggests sprinkling it on salads.
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Artisana Coconut Butter – I saved the best for last. I was absolutely thrilled to see this inside the package. I have been wanting to try coconut butter for a long time, but I haven’t had any luck finding it at my regular grocery stores. Plus, I don’t know if I would really want to eat it enough to warrant buying a whole jar. This individual serving package will be perfect for giving me a sample. Who knows, maybe it will a new coconut butter addiction. 🙂
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Look at all of my beautiful things…

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If you haven’t seen my previous bestowed package, make sure to check them out:January 2013
February 2013

Breakfast for Dinner

Sometimes – not often – but sometimes, I want eggs and pancakes for dinner. One of those ‘sometimes’ was this week. Several months ago, I saw a recipe for an egg dish that used uncooked quinoa. The concept of the quinoa cooking with the eggs intrigued me. Plus, it seemed convenient given I had only a very small portion of quinoa leftover in a bag (I thought it was too small an amount to cook on its own). Unfortunately, where I saw this recipe will forever remain unknown and lost in cyberspace. After doing some searching around, I found this recipe – definitely not the original one I remembered, but it seemed to have most of the necessary ingredients. My version included the following:

Ingredients
– approx. 1/3 cup mix of white and black quinoa (not measured, just what was left in the bags)
– 8 eggs
– 1.25 cups almond milk
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– 1 chopped onion
– 1 tsp dried thyme
– a few shakes salt and pepper
– 2+ cups spinach

Method
Whisk together eggs, milk, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add the onions and spinach. Stir to combine. Coat an 8×8 dish with non-stick spray and pour mixture in:

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I cooked for about 75 minutes at 350°, checking every 5 minutes or so after 1 hour.

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All done! Next up…pancakes! I heard about this pancake recipe on Meals and Miles, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try a variation for myself. It is honest-to-goodness the easiest pancake recipe you will ever find. All you need is 3/4 cup greek yogurt (I used plain, nonfat fage):

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mixed with 1/4 cup egg beaters (could use one real egg):

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Mix 1/2 cup flour and 1 tsp baking soda separately:

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Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix:

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It will seem very wet and doughy – don’t worry, this will contribute to the FLUFFY DELICIOUSNESS of your pancakes. 🙂

Drop them on the pan and cook:

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This is by far the most difficult part of pancake making for me. Who has the patience to wait while each side cooks through? I always flip too soon.

Once they’re done, serve with eggs…maybe even a delicious quinoa egg bake (see above!):

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Oh yeah, and don’t forget the secret ingredient….

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Check out this interior:

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yumyumyum. Make them for your next meal…ready – go!

Hot Quinoa and Spinach Salad

I have a friend who is moving and trying to clear out her kitchen. We decided to make dinner tonight using whatever ingredients she was trying to get rid of. The available items: quinoa, spinach, garlic, lemon, roasted red and yellow peppers (jarred in oil). Let the fun begin!

We combined the quinoa and water with a 1:2 ratio.

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While the quinoa cooked, we got out the rest of the ingredients:

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nice and simple

We chopped up the garlic and roasted peppers and combined in a sauce pan with a little bit of the pepper oil:

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Once heated through, we started to add the spinach and squeeze in lemon juice for additional moisture when necessary:

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Man, that stuff shrinks down fast! We ended up using the entire bag. After the spinach was completely wilted, we added in the cooked quinoa and stirred to combine:

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Easy. Colorful. Healthy.