Giveaway: Quest Bars!

This summer has been a whirlwind, with far more activities and travel than ever before.  It just sort of happened that way, but this last weekend was our first real weekend home relaxing all summer.  Travel can reek havoc on healthy lifestyles, especially when one is easily led astray (ahem).  One of my go-to’s during this crazy time has been Quest Bars from Quest Nutrition.  And since they had a representative at FitBloggin’ again this year I was able to get some samples so I could try all their delicious flavors.  And thanks to Quest, I have not one, but TWO sample packs to giveaway to loyal readers so you can try them too!12sampler

Photo from Quest Nutrition (because I forgot to take my own before starting to eat them!)

I really love Quest’s hashtag #cleancheat because it feels that way.  It feels like a cheat food, but the reality is that it is nutritious as well as being delicious.  Most of the bars end up being 4 or 5 Weight Watcher PP, which is a good size snack, but they have a great amount of protein and fiber and very few net carbs.  For many bars that description sounds like it would be a bland soy mess, but Quest bars are delicious!

My favorite bars are the Cookies and Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but the amazing thing is that there was not a single flavor that I didn’t enjoy.  I would have them all again.  That says something since I am notoriously picky when it comes to protein bars.  (Actually, I had to hide them from E1 and Mr. Goat too, otherwise they would all disappear!

As I said above, Quest is giving me TWO 16-flavor sampler packs to giveaway.  Just enter below!  They will even ship worldwide!  I have a bit of jealousy about my own giveaway.  I ate all my Quest Bars.  See?

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All Gone! *sadface*  Time to order more!

 I was given some Quest bars from Quest Nutrition to try and review.  All opinions are my own however.  The giveaway will be open until 10pm on Monday, August 18.  You can tweet once a day but all other entries are one time only.  

 

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Bondi Band Review and Giveaway

90% of the time I love my haircut.   I used to have longer hair and it always irked me.  It would get long and limp so easily, but at the same time I was used to it and afraid to change.  Somehow it seemed that long hair hid a fat face better.  However, I finally got brave enough (in stages) to get cut my hair shorter and shorter, until I reached the long shaggy pixie type cut that I have now.

June 2014

And like I said, 90% of the time I love it.  The other 10% is when I am exercising.  When I am exercising I hate my hair.  I cannot put it in a ponytail and my bangs hang in my eyes.  Most of the small narrow bands just slide through my hair and it is too fine for most clips.   I have tried many different options to try to find something that works for working out.

My favorite is Bondi Band.  I squealed when I was offered a chance to review them because I already knew that I loved the product.  They are a wide headband and they don’t slide off my head as I am working out.  They can get sopping wet and don’t drip sweat into my eyes from my hair.  Yes, I pretty much look like a fool when wearing it, but I am never going to be a fashion over function sort of girl.  Besides, I love the clever phrases on the Bondi Band.

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Crazy hair, I don’t care!

Bondi Band has a ton of styles, colors, sayings and even bling on their headbands.  You can even order custom ones!  (Note to self: come up with a clever saying, order cute headband, be more awesome).  Plus in a touch I love they donate 10% of all profits to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.

Thanks to FitApproach #sweatpink and Bondi Band #bondiband I have TWO Bondi Bands to giveaway. I just love to give stuff away.  I was sent three total and chose to keep the one above.  It pretty much sums up my feelings about running to a tee.  But there are two more that you can win!
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So be sure to enter to win a new Bondi Band.  BUT, if you don’t win use the code SWEATPINK when you check out.  It is good for 10% off all items except Bargain Bin, Design Your Own, and Custom Items. It is good thru June 28th.
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I was provided the Bondi Bands from Bondi Band as a SweatPink Ambassador (with FitApproach).  As always, all opinions are my own!Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 6.27.06 PM

 

Congratulations Angie and Jill who won our Bondibands!  The giveaway is now closed.

{Sponsored Post} Rummage Sales and Pudding Cake

Whew, last weekend I was busy running my church’s first kid’s stuff garage sale.  Both our gym and fellowship hall were packed with donations ,all of which were sorted, priced and ultimately sold by my amazing group of volunteers.  They did a great job and we made a lot of money for our mission to Minneapolis and St. Paul helping kids in need.

It was great, and tiring.  If there is something I know about me is that when I am tired it is really tempting to stuff my face with dessert.  On the one hand, having dessert can be a nice way to relax and de-stress, especially when I have the points, but on the other it is hard to find good low point desserts that satisfy.

So on Friday night I found myself with a few points and a sweet craving, and a Tastefully Simple blog post that needed writing… Enter the Tastefully Simple Lush Lemon™ Pudding Cake Mix.

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One thing I have loved about getting to know Tastefully Simple products is how easy it is to make something.  I don’t have to worry about having ingredients on hand.  The only thing this cake needed, for example, was water.  Sometimes convenience can be dangerous when you are trying to lose weight, but this still takes time to bake, so it isn’t a mindless decision.

It was also nice how quick it is to put together – on Friday I had been at work for 10.5 hours working on the sale and I had another early morning on Saturday.  It was nice to be able to whip it together, let it bake, and relax.  It was also nice that my son could help.  It is pretty much fool-proof cooking.

The Lush Lemon™ Pudding Cake Mix took about 35 minutes to cook.  I do wish the directions were clearer about when the cake was done however.  There was a time range, but I had never made a pudding cake before and I was surprised by all the liquid even when the cake was “done.”  As a result I think I over baked it a little and it wasn’t as gooey as it might have been.

The cake was tasty.  You make in an 8×8 pan and it makes 9 servings, so they are good size pieces.  We had it plain but it would be great with some berries or whipped cream.  I like the lemon flavor – I have been on a lemon kick lately so it hit the spot there!  Best of all, when I figured out the Weight Watcher PP values each piece is only 4 points!

I can spare 4 points for dessert.  Yes I can.

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And I did.

Sometimes it seems like I should be more wary of desserts while on Weight Watchers. Still, I know that some of my success comes from not demanding that I give up treats entirely, but that I work them into my life with thoughtful planning.  The nice thing about this treat is that it doesn’t make me go crazy and eat the whole batch (like chocolate chip cookies) but it is a nice sweet treat.  Win-win.

And I am sure that because of a little indulgence on Friday night, it made it that much easier to say no to the donuts at the garage sale on Saturday morning.

And because I love to give things away, I am giving away a box of Tastefully Simple’s Lush Lemon™ Pudding Cake Mix to one lucky commenter.  Just leave a comment below with a valid email and tell me what Tastefully Simple product looks most delicious to you!  The giveaway will be open until Friday, May 30 at 10:00pm.

I was provided the Lush Lemon™ Pudding Cake Mix from Tastefully Simple.  I am also compensated for this post.  However all opinions are my own.

Congratulations Kat who was drawn as our winner!

{Sponsored Post} Tastefully Simple Review and Giveaway

I like cake… a little too much.

Part of last week’s self destruction was cake based and naturally it reignited my sweet tooth.  In an effort to find ways to balance the sweet cravings this week and provide some stability to the process I decided to bake something at home.

I knew that I had a Tastefully Simple Product at home for review – Tastefully Simple Absolutely Almond Pound Cake MixTM.  This seemed like a good idea because normally I am not a huge fan of almond flavoring, though I do like it.  I figured it would be easy to stop myself from eating the whole thing.

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If I have learned something from my experience with Tastefully Simple this year it would be that their food is always tastier than I expect it to be.  Making the pound cake was simple: the mix, butter and water.  I suppose I could have used a light butter, but I wanted the full experience so real butter it was (besides, I will always pick real fats over trans fats).

Side note:  I love how simple cooking the Tastefully Simple products are.  E1 can help easily and he never gets bored of the process by too many steps.  In fact, he basically made this one all on his own, with just directions from me. It also meant I was free to take pictures!

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It did take 50 minutes to bake.  I realize that is fairly standard, but it doesn’t allow for immediate satisfaction.  However, when food and cravings are an issue having to wait for something can be a good lesson.  It forces me to sit down and plan what I really am able to eat.

In this case, while it was baking I was able to sit down and figure out the Weight Watcher Points for the prepared cake.  The box had the mix nutrition information so using the Weight Watcher Recipe Maker I could figure it out with the mix, the butter and the water.  As it turns out at 10 servings a loaf (Tastefully Simple’s serving size for the cake) each slice was 5PP.  That is extremely reasonable for cake, especially cake with real butter.

So prepared with the knowledge of how much I could eat I waited patiently (mostly) for the cake to come out of the oven.  When it came out the tooth picks were clean but I could tell it was still moist.

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Again I waited for it to cool.  As it turns out at this point in my evening I decided to run E2 to urgent care as she was fighting a virus and her breathing was iffy.  So I left the cake in Mr. Goat’s and E1’s hands for dessert.   I worried if I would get the full effect of the cake when it had cooled completely.

When I returned home (E2 earned a chest x-ray but thankfully was free of pneumonia and her O2 was ok), I definitely was ready for some cake.  I did have dinner first and left points knowing I could have 2 slices of cake within my remaining points. As I had mentioned I don’t always crave almond flavored food so I was prepared to just try it and leave it be if necessary.

As I sliced off a piece for me I noticed how generous the sizes were for 1/10 of the loaf.  And I noticed how moist and butery it was.  It smelled wonderful and though it was distinctly almond flavored I didn’t find it over powering.  In fact it was delicious!

(Yeah, I had the two pieces of cake)

But after two pieces I was also satisfied (I probably could have been satisfied at one slice, but it was a case of knowing I had the points and market research! J).  Since the cake was rich and buttery I didn’t need a lot.

If I had been thinking I would have had some fresh berries and maybe a little whipped cream to top it off.  Then it would have been a dessert worthy of entertaining.  As it was, I was happy to have a slice while standing in my kitchen after a long day with sick kids.

So in the end, my sweet tooth was satisfied, my control remained intake, I cooked with my child, and I went to bed happy.  Not too shabby for a box of cake mix.

Would you like to try the Tastefully Simple Absolutely Almond Pound CakeTM?  I am giving away a box to one reader.  Simply comment below and tell me your favorite cake flavor!  Maybe Tastefully Simple will listen to us and make a bunch of other flavors too!  PLEASE include an email address as well, so you can be contacted if you win! The winner will be drawn on Feb 26th at 10pm (E1’s birthday and a good day to giveaway cake!) 

Disclaimer:  I was compensated for this post and received the product to review.  However, my opinions are always my own.