Hungry Wanderers Onward

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We had plans to work on our garden today, but other things kept coming up!

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I woke up a little late and made a rushed breakfast of Power Toast and hot tea.

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LOVE the amber color! In the mix: mate vana and rooibos macadamia – from Teavana.

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Spelt Power Toast with Barney Butter, chia seeds and sesame seeds.

Then, I went to church solo. Hubby was out fishing with a friend.

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Post church snack – Galaxy Granola (*) with vanilla almond milk.

Then, I went on a massive grocery re-stocking trip to Earthfare.

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But first I hit up the cafe area for lunch. I got a nice sized salad with baby spinach, romaine, cucumber, grape tomatoes, sprouts, celery, purple cabbage, carrots, and some macaroni salad on the side. I topped the salad with a raspberry chipotle dressing. I thought I read the bottle wrong but it definitely tasted like smoky, spicy raspberries. Very interesting.

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I also got some vegan veggie soup.

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Plus a yerba mate lemon tea to drink.

I ate my lunch in full sun on the patio and it was wonderous!

As for the groceries, I didn’t feel like taking pictures of everything, but here are some notable purchases:

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Old-fashioned butter from Homestead Creamery.

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Organic minneolas. I was going to pick up some conventional clementines but these were cheaper, organic, and (per the produce guy) more in season. Score!

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A trial size box of Green Genius biodegradable plastic kitchen bags.

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Earth Friendly Products Wave Auto Dishwasher Gel.

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Citradish Mango Tangerine Natural Dish Soap.

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Clearbrook Farms bitter-sweet orange marmalade.

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Amaranth (ok, I bought this from the bulk bins a week or so ago but I forgot to show you!)

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Hempmilk in Vanilla. I’m working my way through all the non-dairy milks and I’ve been wanting to try hemp milk for awhile. Today it was on sale, so I decided to give it a go. Can’t wait to try it!

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Coconut water – only $0.98 each. I swear these are more like $2 at other stores. I’ve been working on getting “things” from more natural sources, whether the “things” I’m looking for are vitamins, protein, etc. I bought the coconut water for the natural electrolytes.

While I was grocery shopping, hubby was furniture shopping. We found some stuff to buy on Craigslist and had it delivered today!

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We got this vintage buffet – built in the 1940s.

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A leather sectional for the basement.

And, my favorite purchase….

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…a PATIO TABLE! I think we will be using this piece of furniture veeery soon.

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While hubby was moving stuff, I also worked on a dessert for later.

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Mini fruit tarts! These are vegan and gluten free and perfect for spring/summer! Recipe to be posted later. Recipe up – click to view!

I made the tarts for a little get together for our friends Justin + Amanda, aka the Hungry Wanderers, who are moving to Las Vegas.

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There were tons of great eats.

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Veggie and bean salad and quinoa.

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Roasted broccoli and green beans.

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Salad.

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Beef brisket.

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I got a little bit of everything. Literally!

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Plus water to drink. Love these cups!

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There were plenty of sweets, too!

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Two layer chocolate-chocolate birthday cake.

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Oatmeal raisin cookies.

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My mini fruit tarts.

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Serving the cake.

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Just like dinner…I had a little bit of everything.

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Justin and Amanda recently went to Australia and they brought back a little taste of their adventure – the infamous Vegemite. My sister, who did an exchange to Australia, said she didn’t care for the vegemite and I’ve heard from most Americans that it’s not very good.

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I was a little nervous to try it, but too curious to say no.

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I picked a little corner, plus another fruit tart to chase the vegemite. :lol:

Surprisingly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was pretty good and good for you with lots of B vitamins (which can be difficult for most vegetarians and vegans to get). The flavor had a lot more bite than I expected, but it was tolerable. I can see why people really like it.

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Next, we got to try something else really cool.

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Homemade root beer! I’m a big root beer fan, so I was really excited about this.

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It was really awesome. Maybe the best root beer I’ve ever had – nice and not too sweet. It would make the perfect root beer float.

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A wise friend once told me “Later” means I’ll see you again, but “Goodbye” is forever.

See you later Amanda + Justin! We’re going to miss you guys! Best of luck in Vegas. We’ll have to visit sometime soon! :)

Long Work Day = Short, Quick, + Easy (Ravioli) Dinner

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Happy Tuesday to you!

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I stayed up late (per the usual) and rushed about this morning getting ready for work. Breakfast = Spring Blend coffee and Power Toast. with chia seeds, hemp seeds, and sunflower seeds all over Barney Butter. Boy did that coffee taste good with the toast today!

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I started work with Tulsi tea in Indian Breakfast with some sugar. Sometimes I’m good with one cup of coffee and sometimes I need a little more caffeine. I prefer my second cup come from tea.

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My one co-worker and I have been trying to plan a lunch for a few months now, but we’re always busy or out of town. Today, we actually had some time not in meetings at the same time and decided to go for a late lunch. I had a snack around noon to tide me over – Kashi crackers in honey sesame and Laughing Cow cheese (from my work stash). I made my co-worker a serving, too. That workaholic never eats! So many people I work with skip lunch all the time. I may not have time to eat lunch away from my desk, but I NEED to eat something. It’s so much healthier for you, too.

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For our lunch out, I had a breakfast wrap – egg white, provolone cheese, tomato.

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I was actually really excited to finish lunch back in the office because I had my marinated kale with me ready to taste test.

It was a WINNER! I can’t wait to share my recipe. :) Update – the recipe has been posted! Click here to view my marinated kale recipe!

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I caught a craving for chocolate when I got stuck late at work. Around 6pm, I dug into my desk stash – dark chocolate and a PB Ghiradelli square. I find myself liking mainstream (Snickers, etc) candy and milk chocolate less and less. I really want to get some nice, quality dark chocolate to keep at my desk for my chocolate emergencies.

I ended up staying at work till 7 pm and left feeling totally drained of energy. :( Cooking (or doing anything that took any amount of effort) was sounding less and less attractive. Take-out was sounding better and better.

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I got home and hubby suggested I de-stress with a quick walk with Bailey. Normally when I get home so late, I think about all the things I need to cram into the night in less time and try to not do “frivolous” things. Tonight, I decided a walk sounded like a good idea.

It was. The fresh air helped clear my mind a little.

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On top of that – I had a PACKAGE waiting to be opened!!

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Inside – neatly, carefully, and chicly wrapped Galaxy Granola!! I’ve been wanting to try this stuff forever!

This stuff is really cool because they bake their granola in applesauce instead of oil!

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Galaxy Granola was kind enough to send me 3 granolas to sample * – yes, for free FTC. :)

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Flavors I get to try: Vanilla Almond, Cranberry Orange, Not Sweet Vanilla. They all sound so fabulous – I can’t wait to dig in! In fact, I’m kicking myself that we don’t have yogurt on hand because I reeeally want to try some Galaxy Granola out tomorrow morning! Gah! I just love opening new things. As soon as I get them I want to test them out. :mrgreen:

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For dinner, I was so exhausted that I wanted to cook something that was both quick and easy.

I dug into one of my Foodbuzz samples, which I’ve been hoarding (but talked myself into finally using tonight) – the new Bertolli Arrabbiata sauce (f). I received these sauces for free as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program.

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The sauce has a pretty good ingredient list – all pronounceable words.

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Nutrition info.

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Other ingredients: onion, sun-dried tomato (leftover from that yummy veggie lasagna), baby spinach…

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…local cheese raviolini (waiting for me in the freezer – plus some white wine to enjoy whilst cooking.

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Love my Wusthof knife.

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I think the smell of sauteed onions is intoxicating…yuuuuum!

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Chewy sun-dried tomatoes.

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Add sauce.

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Add chopped baby spinach.

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Niiice. This sauce couldn’t come together easier. I love it when you have something you can just toss this and that in and it comes together in snap. Who wants to think hard after an extra-long day of work.

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Cook pasta.

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Ravioli to sauce.

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Stir. Done! Piece of cake!

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Top with cheese and we’re ready to enjoy.

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Dinner is served with bread and wine.

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Seconds.

The sauce was lovely. I really appreciated the read-able ingredient list and the flavor was nice and slightly spicy with a sweet bite thanks to the sun-dried tomatoes I added. I really tasted the red pepper in the sauce, too, which was a nice change of pace from your average tomato-only-sauce. I would definitely purchase this sauce if I saw it in the grocery store. I think my add-ins upped the nutrition with extra veggies.

Quick + Easy Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomato, Arrabiatta Ravioli

This is a great meal for when you want to eat in but don’t have the energy to do a big meal This dinner whips up quickly and requires little to no measuring.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package frozen ravioli (I used cheese)
  • 1 jar arrabiatta sauce (I used Bertolli’s new flavor)
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (however much you want – I used about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add EVOO. Add onion, saute 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, cook 60 seconds. Add sun-dried tomatoes, saute 60 seconds. Add sauce. Add spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Meanwhile, boil water in a large pot. Once boiling, add salt. Add ravioli. Cook to lowest cook time (pasta will continue cooking in sauce later).
  3. Use a strainer to remove pasta directly from water and into the sauce. Add about 1/4 cup pasta water to the ravioli/sauce. Cook till ingredients combined, about 1-3 minutes.
  4. Serve with fresh-grated parmesan.

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A couple bites of dark chocolate for dessert. :)

I must say, I was feeling pretty drained and lazy after work today…I mean I didn’t get home till about 7:30pm. But, tapping into my Eat in Month skills, I avoided the urge to order take-out and threw together a super simple but satisfying ravioli dinner. I mean, Rachael Ray is right….sometimes it is easier and faster to just cook at home than get take-out!

Project Hydrate Day #23

I did about average today for Project Hydrate.

Consumed:

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups hot tea

I missed my first-thing-in-the-morning water, which usually helps me get another glass of water in.

Randomness

I’m working on getting some really cool things in my OpenSky shop. Unfortunately, not everything I’m requesting is making it in, but we’ll get there. On the one hand, I feel like it’s taking forever to populate my OpenSky shop. On the other I know it’s because I’m all about quality over quantity & trying to be choosey about what I select to add. Only the best for you guys!! :)

I’m 3 fans away from 100 on my Facebook page. Who will be lucky #100?! ;)

One year ago today I was blogging about my fabulous stops at two more California wineries – Trentadue and Rosenblum. Can I go back there this weekend? Pleeeease?

Who’s ready for a Fitness challenge? Details April 1st. In the meantime, get your strength training gear ready – simple weights (these are really affordable at places like WalMart/Target) and strength bands.

Reader question: After a long day or work/school/whatever, do you prefer to eat out or stay in and cook?

“Green” Eggs + “Ham”

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Did you remember to wear green? I did – a lil green for each outfit change. You’ll see…

And before I forget, sorry for not responding to comments the last couple days. I’ve been staying up late just trying to get other things (like taxes…ugh) done, so I’ll get back to them asap. :) I read them all I just haven’t had the chance to respond!

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I’ve decided that I need to start earlier on Project Hydrate. I usually don’t drink anything but coffee (which I only have 1 mug of in the AM) before about 10 or 10:30am. That’s roughly 2-3 hours of time I could be hydrating but am not!

This morning, I started with water first thing. Ok, first, I got my coffee brewing (priorities people!) but while my coffee brewed, I downed half a cup of water. I think the water helped wake me up better than the coffee!

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I was down to the last of my Barney Butter. Most people get excited about Oatmeal in a Jar.

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Here’s how I like to clean out my nut butter containers. heehee :lol: Get it Bailey!

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I’ve been running late all week, so Power Toast is my quick go-to when I’m short on time.

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AB+J Power Toast!

(almond butter + jelly)

Toppings:

  • Barney Butter
  • Earthfare Organic Pomegranate jelly
  • flaxseeds
  • chia seeds

Such a great way to start the day! I think I need to re-create this for lunch some time.

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I wonder if drinking lots of water makes you want to drink more water?

Normally, for Project Hydrate, I finish my first 4 cup water bottle around 2pm with a cup or two of hot tea. Today, I finished my pink bottle, a yerba mate latte, AND that cup from this morning by 1pm! I was an hour earlier with the pink bottle, plus I had an extra cup of water to tack on to my total.

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I went out for lunch again. :( I’ve been eating out way too much lately! Too much for my liking at least. I think b/c this week has been so busy and I missed my prep day this past Sunday.

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Today for lunch I had a hummus sammie…

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…and some Vibrance tea and fresh fruit. My lunch was very healthful, but pretty pricey, too.

Note the 2 extra cups liquids…yay!

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Around 3pm, I realized I’d only consumed roughly 800 calories for the day. I’m not counting, but I like to keep a rough guess-timate. Typically, I’m concerned with not getting enough food. I’ve had issues with restrictive eating before (more on that in a future post/page).

Anywho, factoring in that I’d be burning roughly 500-600 calories in zumba class later with a net total of 200-300, I realized I needed to eat more food to fuel up for zumba.

Kashi crackers were my answer.

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Plus an organic apple.

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As for my green – here’s my half-a$$ attempt – a pale green scarf. I was already dressed when I realized I needed to wear green and didn’t feel like changing. The scarf was my greenest accessory.

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More zumba fuel on the way to class – a GREEN Amazing Grass Chocolate food bar.

Oh and do you see my green pants in the background?

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Yup, when I packed for class, I remembered to bring green – my bright green zumba pants that is!

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I had some really great ideas for dinner tonight. I wanted to make a tofu or tempeh Shepherd’s Pie…alas, I didn’t leave zumba till about 8pm, so a slow-baking dinner was not in my cards.

So, instead of Irish-y eats, I went with green eats. I thought…what about Green Eggs & Ham with pesto and spinach and a non-meat “ham”? I didn’t feel like buying all the ingredients to make pesto mostly because it’s kind of expensive, so I had hubby pick up some pesto. I’m not sure how much it cost but he said the ready made pesto was expensive, so I may have been better off making it from scratch.

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This pesto was not very green. :( But it tasted pretty good at least :)

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So we went “green” for the eggs festive in color and with “potatoes” to be festive in flavor. I saw a sign at Trader Joe’s saying something about getting potatoes for St Patricks Day. It seemed like a good idea.

Dinner cooked up quickly, which I was thankful for since I didn’t get home till closer to 9pm.

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For my “ham”, I used Morningstarbacon strips” (since hubby and I gave up meat for Lent).

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So, my eggs didn’t turn out green, even though I stirred in some fresh spinach. But like I said, it tasted good. :) I even liked the bacon broken into the eggs. I was surprised at how crispy the “bacon” got.

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Yummers.

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OJ to drink.

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Hubby got us cupcakes to celebrate St Patricks day. He got the vanilla and I got the chocolate.

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Not only were the cupcakes delicious, they were festive, too! Perfect with some skim organic milk.

Speaking of cupcake eating…do you have a style or pattern you follow when you eat your cupcakes?

Here’s how I eat mine.

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If the cupcake has a lot of icing, I like to level it off (by licking off the icing of course…no sense in putting it to waste).

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Then, you peel off the wrapper (not all the way) and bite into it, making sure to get some of the cupcake and some of the icing in each bite.

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When you get to the last couple bites, you can discard the wrapper.

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The last bite is quite possibly the best! (the only competition is the first bite…yum).

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Done-zo! :)

How do you eat your cupcakes?

Project Hydrate Day #10

Tidbits: I’ve received comments that it’s hard to stay hydrated when you’re cold. This is a problem for me, too, because I’m ALWAYS cold at work! So, I totally feel your pain. Truly.

My solution if coldness keeps you from hydrating:

  • Drink hot tea (try to use as little sweetener and milk/creamer as possible – I like a little but it can really add up if you’re drinking many cups of tea) – added bonus – the hot tea will help keep you warm and many teas have good nutritional benefits.
  • Stay warm – I keep a blanket and extra jacket at work to help stay warm. I even have leg warmers for emergency situations and yes, I have used them at the office – click for proof.
  • Drink hot water with a squeeze of lemon – I’ve heard a lot of people drink this in the morning instead of coffee. I’ve only done this a couple times just because I prefer tea which has more flavor.
  • Suck it up – hydration is important.
  • Maybe try room temp water? That way it won’t make you colder?

I think starting first thing this morning with water was a big key to my success today!

Consumed:

  • 1 cup water first thing this morning
  • 1 pink bottle ~4 cups finished by 1pm
  • 1 yerba mate latte finished
  • 2 cups worth iced, unsweetened Vibrance tea
  • 1 turquoise bottle ~3 cups

How are you doing with Project Hydrate? Do you need any tips? Leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can do. Plus, I’d like to hear how you guys are doing. Updates please! :)

Remember my random reader question – how do you eat your cupcakes?

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