Friday’s Favorite Product Review–Siggi’s Kefir

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Heeeeey!  It is Friday!  Where is the week/summer going?!  I can’t believe we are more than half-way through June and the fourth of July is only a few weeks away, wow!  Well . . . years ago I used to always include a post on Fridays with my favorite food product and not sure why I got away from it but thought it would be great to start up again, considering I have a ton of products to show you that I love!  And always remember I do not receive any product promotions from any company and all my opinions are mine!

If you stop by my house, this is usually what you get . . . me saying, “Hey, why don’t you try this new product I just got”,  “Oh my gosh, you have to try this!”   “Here is my kids’ favorite new snack!”    I think you get the idea . . .  that I love showing and sharing my new latest good-for-you food finds!  Hooray!  Always makes me so excited to share and so happy to carry on with these posts!


I love kefir and my kids love it, too!  If you have never tried kefir before it is like a drinkable yogurt, may be a tad more tart than the regular sugared yogurt.  I remember years ago I had it on a local TV show and the host tasted it on-air and kept saying, “It is so tart!”  Arg! The joys of live TV, ahh!  I reinforced that it is like a dessert for me and there are a ton of benefits when including kefir in your diet.  Kefir has about 10 times more beneficial probiotics (good bugs) than yogurt.  I seem to always bring back kefir during those winter months to keep us stay healthy. 


There is a ton of research regarding the benefits of probiotics including weight loss, improve digestive health, promote immune system and many more.  Here is a great site for more info on probiotics: US Probiotics Home. And from own personal experience I like to believe that it cured my baby’s skin eczema/acne. My baby was exclusively breast feeding and really the only thing I changed in my diet was adding a couple servings of kefir each day and within a day or two (no joke) her skin was smooth as her bottom, ha! Maybe it went away on its own but I like to believe that I cured my baby with powerful nutrition, as any dietitian/new mom would do, right?

Now, the market has caught onto to this research and there are so many new varieties and flavors of kefir, even chocolate!  My kids love to use an old medicine syringe (clean of course) and suck up kefir in a bowl and squirt into their mouths. This is at least a good half hour of fun for them!  Or if there is a good buy on kefir and I buy more than just one, I like to freeze it into these fun Zipzicle Clear Ice Molds.

Reason Why I Picked this Brand

  • The main reason I choose Siggi’s is because it has less sugar than other varieties, only 3 grams to be exact.  Honestly, my kids prefer this brand – Lifeway Kefir because it taste sweeter but I enjoy the taste of Siggi’s more.

How to Incorporate Kefir into your Diet

  • This makes a great filling on –the-go breakfast or snack!   In a hurry? Pair with a whole grain cereal (more than 5 grams of fiber).
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with a glass of cold kefir.  Really, it does the trick! When I am searching around the kitchen looking for something sweet, kefir is a great filling and satisfying snack.
  • Pair it with a cup of frozen berries and blend together!  So. Darn. GOOD!!  I told my sister about this easy recipe years ago and love the fact she still makes this simple smoothie almost daily for breakfast!

Favorite Products Reviews

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Spicy Pepper & Edamame Salsa

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Hey friends!  As summer is in full force with swimming pool, sleeping in, bug bites, playing in the dark, grill-out parties and  smores, the kids and I are off to a pretty good start!  The summer fun is happening but still struggling to find that perfect schedule for me.   I love having the kids home but I really cherished my “free time” while they were in school – even if it was only for a couple of hours.  Just so you know mommy is drinking plenty of iced coffees to survive, ha!  I really can’t complain but I’m sure many moms are with me, eh?

To keep the summer fun going, I have the perfect fresh salsa recipe to bring at your next party!  This is a great way to get in your veggies for the day – so nice to find something different than a salad.  I am getting burnt out on salads . . .this salsa is so amazingly good  – I can’t stop!  The other day I had leftovers of this salsa and decided to have this for dinner!  I took a plate and made a layer of tortilla chips then added a nice sprinkle of shredded cheese, popped it in the microwave for a bit and then piled on this Spicy Pepper & Edamame Salsa!  Dinner, done!  It was awesome – more than awesome, wink, wink!


Is this not the best idea ever?!  Frozen “fresh-like” herbs!  You mean I don’t have to throw away the last bunch because I didn’t use all the fresh herbs!  Hy-Vee has a new line of frozen herbs, not sure all the varieties but from memory I think they have garlic, basil and a couple more.  I really love them and super easy to use.  They are a bit hard to find in the store so be sure to ask when you are in the frozen aisle!


I was very surprised to see how easily they come out for being frozen.  Just pinch a little and sprinkle out!


I love Mrs. Dash’s line of salt-free seasoning packets!  There are so many varieties and some of my favorites are meat loaf, taco and beef stew – double yum! 


Juice a lime and mix in the seasoning, no oil required! SO. MUCH. FLAVOR!


Dice up 2 green peppers, 1 yellow and 1 red – Just buy a four-pack and that is the base for this great salsa!


Add some green onions, corn edamame and mix all together!  WOW!  Perfect pair for a grill-out!


Spicy Pepper & Edamame Salsa


2 green bell pepper, diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 cup shelled edamame

1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 lime, jucied

2 tbsps green onion, chopped

1 1/2 tbsps Mrs. Dash fajita seasoning, (may add 2 tbsp if you like the heat)


In a bowl, mix together peppers, edamame, corn and green onions.  In a small bowl juice a lime and mix in seasoning. Pour mixture over vegetables and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and serve! 


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Turbo-Charged Guacamole

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Ahhh . . . raise your hand if you like guacamole?  Me!  And if you have never tried guacamole like some of my family members, well . . .maybe you should try it because you might be missing out on an amazing dip!  So, yes, I love guacamole and the few times I actually take the time to make it myself, I end up having it as a meal! A couple weeks ago, I wanted to make guacamole for a little get-together but was hesitant to buy all the fresh spices, I know, I know, sometimes I don’t use all the necessary spices and end up throwing them away, so sad!  So as I was shopping in the health food section, I found this awesome little packet for guacamole dip! I gave it a try . . .


Hooray! This totally makes the dip and I love I can make this recipe a thousand times and it always turns out!  I also thought about adding some other beneficial green foods to my dip such as broccoli and edamame!  Why not add a powerful punch to this dip with more added antioxidants and protein! So let me highlight the benefits of each ingredient.



  • Contains soluble fiber that binds cholesterol in the intestines and eliminates it from the body. 
  • Contains both mono and polyunsaturated fats that can help to lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that plays an important role in wound-healing and tissue growth.
  • Great source of potassium that can help lower blood pressure – more potassium than a banana!
  • Contains vitamins A and K, which helps keep  vitamin D in balance. Vitamin D promotes the body’s absorption of calcium and  promotes bone health and growth.
  • Good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin—which play an important role in the health of the eye.
  • Supports skin health and repair.
  • Contains 8 grams of fiber in every cup!
  • Contains approximately 60% of the daily value mineral, copper which is key for keeping your immune system healthy.
  • High in protein!  One cup contains almost 17 grams of protein, whoa!


Turbo-Charged Guacamole

Ingredients :

3 avocadoes

½ cup broccoli

½ cup edamame, shelled

3 tbsp water

1 packet Simply Organic guacamole seasoning

Preparation :

Peel avocadoes and place in the food processor and set aside. Meanwhile, place broccoli and edamame with 3 tablespoons of water in a glass bowl and microwave on HIGH for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly soft. Once vegetables are softened, place all ingredients including the water to the food processor. Add the seasoning packet and pulse until smooth. Place dip in the frig for at least 30 minutes and serve.


Well, my friends enjoy this dip and enjoy the added nutrients in this Turbo-Charged Guacamole!


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Pack a Perfect Lunch!

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Hey friends! Love this idea of packing lunches because usually I graze for the entire day and then at about 3 p.m.  I am ravenous and pull out leftovers from the frig or make a giant plate of nachos and try to get in some veggies to make myself feel better.  Here are all my ingredients and utensils.


Here is what I included in my pre-made, read-to-go lunches: Apple Gouda Chicken Sausage (to dye for!), 18 veggie straws or 9 veggie pop chips, one-ounce hummus and a variety of vegetables.   Here are the nutritionals: 280 calories; 26 g carbohydrate; 11 g fat; 22 g protein; 754 mg sodium; 6 g sugar; 7 g fiber.  I think that is pretty darn good and what I love best is this little lunch is so satisfying!  The sausage and chips are my favorite of course – I feel like I’m eating splurging at picnic! Sometimes I heat the sausage in a small glass bowl, other times I just eat cold – good either way!


I found these containers on Amazon, I love the division of sizes but some of the lids are not fitting very well, therefore ruining some of my lunches, grr!  I picked these because I thought they would be perfect to fit a wrap!   They are good but not great.  I also used the regular Ziploc divided containers which are okay, too.



Get the veggie container out and load up! Woohoo!  I  know I am a dork but there is something about it that really excites me when I see a pretty, colorful vegetable container.  Makes a dietitian happy! 


These little cupcake liners are perfect to hold the dip!  I weighed out a one-ounce serving of hummus.  Could mix it up and do a dressing, guacamole or nuts – anything small servings works great!


The other day I was starving and the kids were begging to play on the driveway and when I am hungry I get grumpy, so I just opened up a meal and took it outside and watched the kids play!  Catastrophe dodged!  Happy mom = happy kids!   These are going to be great during the summer for picnics too! 


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Mango Mimosas!

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Hello friends!  As spring has sprung and windows are open . . . ahh . . . yes, the spring we have been waiting for, I wanted to feature a simple, yet amazing little drink I came up with awhile back.  This little drink would be perfect in celebration at a shower, the morning of a wedding or just plain ole’ anytime.  I shared this drink with friends at a bonfire the other week and it was tasty as ever! 


Instead of the regular OJ, I was in search of finding a different juice.  I was looking in the juice aisle at the store, reading labels, looking at ingredients and was not finding what I wanted.  I was thinking something like a mango juice but all I found was a nectar with other flavors and of course some unwanted added sugar in a variety of juices – not 100% juice, bummer!   So, onto plan B . . . then I thought about the bag of frozen mango in my freezer, ah-ha!  I said to myself “Why not just puree the mango with some water and make my own nectar/juice, eh?” 


Well, fortunately my plan worked and I will have to say this is one of my favorite drinks and I have made this many times. Generally about about a one to two ratio of water to frozen mango.   Here is the champagne that I used for the drink.


Cheers!  I love those little fingers reaching for her own mango puree drink.  It is a good idea to make extra mango puree because the kiddos always see the yummy drink and want some too!   May add some sparkling water for the kids drink or just the mango puree/juice is delicious by itself! 


I will have to say frozen mango is one of my favorite treats/desserts!  And by using frozen mango it provides a refreshing cool element to the champagne. As for mangoes, they are a rock star fruit and packed with essential nutrients Mangoes are a good source of fiber, vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin C and high in potassium.  Woohoo, go mango!

Mango Mimosas


2 cups frozen mango chunks

1 cup water

1 bottle chilled sparkling wine or champagne


  •  In a blender puree mango and water until smooth.
  • To make by the glass fill glasses about 1/3 full with the mango puree and then add the wine or champagne.



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Calling all coffee addicts! How To Make Your Own Coffee Shop Skinny Latte

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If you are anything like me, you go crazy about coffee!  I think coffee has become indeed a new hot trend and what is even better  is the fact there are a bunch of studies out there telling us that coffee may help prevent some disease such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even help prevent certain cancers.  That is just awesome!  And if you are already drinking coffee, here is a study where they have shown that increasing your coffee consumption may help even more! Check out it out –  Increased coffee consumption may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.  There are so many studies out there but here is one study that intrigued me: Effects of Coffee Bean Aroma on the Rat Brain Stressed by Sleep Deprivation  found that just the smell of coffee helped reduce stress that was associated with loss of sleep. I thought it was just tired ole’ me that gets super happy when I walk into a Starbuck but now there is real research to back up my belief that coffee can instantly make people happy just by the smell!  Cool, right?! IMG_0517

So let’s begin . . . my husband and I were in search of making our coffee better each morning so he did some research and found an AeroPress.  If you don’t know what an AeroPress is – similar to a French press but in single servings more or less . . .  For less than $30 this little utensil makes the best espresso that we use to make our lattes and coffee at least two times a day.    I am sure it has saved us hundreds of dollars in order to fulfill our coffee fix.  


I enjoy a latte at super-duper early o’clock and I get out my little basket of Aeropress items and start the morning making my favorite drink, non-fat plain latte.  Simple, indeed as I have finally kicked the sugar in my coffee, woohoo!   I found that buying really good coffee grounds helps me enjoy coffee without the cup of caramel creamer, ha! This all may look like a lot of work but it is totally worth it, really! 

I start off with measuring one cup of skim milk.  Sometimes I treat myself and buy 1% or 2% and it is even heavenlier – if that is even a word.  The little extra milk fat makes the latte even creamier, ahhh!  I put one cup in the microwave for one minute. 


We also bought this Milk Frother from Amazon and it sure does the trick by adding more air to the milk like in a high-grade frother.  I should probably put a disclaimer out there that I am by no means a barista or expertise in the coffee area, but I have finally found a way to make exceptional lattes at home and wanted to share!


The AeroPress it is really a simple kitchen utensil to use.  There is a paper filter that you insert on the bottom, screw in and place over your coffee cup.  Next add some delicious coffee grounds.  If you watch videos on how to use an aero press,  they usually use “funnel” for the bottom but I find it easier to place on top so I do not spill any coffee grounds because that would obviously be a sin to waste coffee grounds.


Pour hot water (they recommend a 175 degree F is optimal, I usually just nuke in the microwave for 45 to 60 seconds) into the AeroPress.  Notice there are numbers and that correlates with the number of scoops of coffee grounds you added.  A normal cup would include two scoops, therefore you would add water till you reached the number two on the cylinder. 



I of course, add three scoops of coffee grounds for a large coffee cup.


Stir the water with paddle for about 10 seconds. 



Insert the plunger and gently push down slowly, lasting about 20 to 30 seconds.   I like to let is sit for a bit to get all the good coffee juices.


Pure heaven, breathe in . . .ahhh . . .breathe out . . . is your stress gone?


Now add the frothed, hot milk . . .  mmmmm . . .  I like to put it back in the microwave for about 30 to 40 seconds in order to get the perfect temperature which seems to make it taste better to me, eh, I don’t know?



For the last couple of months I have finally put all items in a nice little basket and this makes for much quicker clean-up and tidiness in my cupboard, love!


There you have it folks, a simple and wonderful homemade latte that tastes just like how the pros make it . . . you will thank me, wink!  You may add a tablespoon of flavored creamer if you like and when I used to do this I found that I had to measure it out every time because if I just poured creamer in my cup I would ruin the entire latte. Just a little is all that is needed.  And maybe on a special occasion I still will use Coffee Mate Natural Bliss creamers which are simply delicious. 

I heart coffee!   Enjoy!


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The Ultimate Food & Exercise Tracker–Simple Tools for Weight Loss Success!

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pic of Food Journal

Hey friends!  I am finally finishing up something that has been in mind for quite some time and that is a simple all-in-one Food & Exercise Tracker. Sometimes something a little different is just what is needed to get you back on your goals.  I know this plan is getting back to the “old-school” paper version  but this is a great way to break everything down on one page. This tracker is unique because it helps give you a little idea of what to each each meal and snack by suggesting a serving from a particular food group.

I will have to admit I am huge fan of using the My Fitness Pal app and recently been tracking my food with my fitbit but I seem to only track my food till lunch time and then I say heck with it, this is too tedious for me and honestly I really do no like counting my own calories, blah!   So here is a no-calorie-counting way to be fit, stay motivated for the week and just focus on incorporating real food at each meal and snack. Simple!  Well . . .at least I hope so, wink, wink! Let me break it down . . .


I am really not trying to make this confusing but I have just used a single letter to suggest what food should be eaten from the designated food group.  Remember for snacks you may just pick two – Dairy + Starch or Dairy + Fruit or Dairy + Nut or Nut + Fruit and so on . . . . only fill in two lines!

Here are the symbols:  P = Protein; D = Dairy; S = Starch (or grain); F = Fruit; N = Nuts; O = Oils.  These symbols are listed on the side of the handout as well.

What foods and how much belong in each food group?         Download Serving Size Chart





I want to keep tracking your cardio simple.  I am a very visual type of person (as you may find many charts in my house, haha!), but I thought shading in a circle for every 10 minutes of cardio done would be a good way for you to see how much (and how much you have grown) throughout the week and weeks.  Simply shade the circle for every 10 minutes of cardio and write down what activity was done.  For example walking for 30 minutes – write walking on the activity line and shade in three circles. 

Strength Training

This is not very creative but simply focusing on just four strength training activities.  This may include  30 sit-ups; 20 (8#) curls; 20 (8#) flies; etc.  Here is a great visual for know what to call each exercise – Strength Training Guide for Women


Or I also like to search on YouTube and find super-quick strength training videos.  Here are some of my favorite quick videos after some cardio!  3 Minute Intense Core Workout with Autumn Fitness  &  The Ultimate Upper Body Workout


Water, water, water . . . I don’t tell myself this enough because I am not good at drinking lots of water, coffee maybe but not water.  Remember 75% of the time you think you are hungry you are actually just thirsty, ahhh!  Think of all the calories saved!


Rate your day!

Love this – tell me how your day went . . . did you stick to your goals or did you fall off track?  If it was an okay day, then I would give that a rating of a 3.   If the day was pretty good except for an extra dessert than I would give it a 4 and so on . . .


Well, good luck and I hope this helps!  Download Daily Dietitian’s Food & Exercise Tracker.

Final Daily Food LogPublication2

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