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The numbers told their story, and the winner of my fabulous Grab the Gold Giveaway is…..

Lucky FOURTEEN! And it turns out, the 14th valid giveaway entry of 22 belongs to my awesome roomie Carina!

Never to roam snackless again!

Congratulations, Carina!

I would ask you for your email address and contact information, buuuttt I don’t think I’ll need it to move this box o’ Gold from my room to yours. Thanks for entering my giveaway and being a Beanie Bumbles fan and supporter from the beginning!

Gonna make this post short and sweet, as I’m also trying to keep a hawkseye on my oven. Delicious recipe comin’ your way soon :).

Have a great Monday night, and although you may not have won this time, I can promise it won’t be your last opportunity to snag some goodies on this blog!

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First things first…Happy Father’s Day!!!

I’ve spoken to my dad on the phone and via text today, but I gotta use this forum to give him another shout out!

My dad is one of the most brilliant, humble, capable and sensitive people that I have ever known. He has demonstrated to me and my brothers that love often appears in its strongest form subtly, through consistency, reliability, and sometimes plain teeth-gritting BEING THERE. That the stuff that matters to a child, at the end of the day.

I feel unbelievably blessed, not only to have him as my fan and confidant, but to have him as a nigh-perfect role model for the man I want to end up with someday. Plus, I’m his spittin’ image, and that’s always fun!

Now, before I jump into another “movie-reel” style recap, a quick FINAL reminder:

MY GRAB THE GOLD BAR GIVEAWAY ends TONIGHT!

If you’ve somehow missed it :), I am giving away an entire box of the most delicious and nutritionally powerful “snack” bars that I’ve come across in my live long day.

After multiple late nights debating across the conference table, the people of Grab the Gold went back to basics. YUMMY says it all.

Seriously people, you gotta trust me on this one…you WANT these bars! I tested them out on two more GTG newbies this weekend and per usual, they both could.not.stop.raving.

There’s just NEVER a bad time for a Grab the Gold!

Bedtime snack attack!

To enter the giveaway, click HERE to see my original giveaway post, read the instructions on how to participate and get in the GTG game! The party ends at 11:59 pm EST tonight.

Now that we got that out of the giveaway, it’s time for another Beanie Bumbles feature film!

This weekend was jaaaamm packed for me. I panicked on Thursday when I actually swallowed that I am going to be out of town for the next FOUR weekends in a ROW! So basically, any errands that I can only run/might have to run on a weekend in the next MONTH needed to be taken care of THIS weekend!

[The word ‘weekend’ is starting to sound strange in my head from overuse.]

HOLY MOLY. Despite the bazillion errands I had to (and did!) accomplish, the past few days were a blast, as I had two UVA girlfriends from my The-The-The Theta pledge class in town! PLUS, my bestie Nellie’s birthday is this Wednesday, and we celebrated her day of arrival last night at the amazingly YUMMY Alta Restaurant!

Gang’s all here :). Out-of-town special guests Frances (pretty blonde in yellow) and Lacy (pretty blonde purple animaly print rawr!).

In order to tick everything off my “to-do” list AND see my friends, I ended up being a serious STREET SNACKER this weekend. What you are about to see are the noshes that got me through, all of which I would highly recommend adding to your foodie repertoire if you haven’t already!

[Oh and apologies in advanced for my deee-sgusting nails. Promise I’ll get on that.]

Nothin’ new under the sun here, and I dig it. Iced coffee with whole milk, cinnamon, cocoa powder and Splenda. Buttery lil’ madeleine.

One of two new-to-me TJs delights that I picked up. I adored this flavor, AND it has a noticeably lower sugar content than it’s flavored brethren. 14 grams of protein for 99c? I don’t hate it.

I’ve noticed moms going WILD for these things at TJs before and never understood the hype, so I picked up several flavors and tried this Iced Oatmeal Cookie first….UM mystery solved! This flavor at least is RIDICULOUSLY delicious, and several more were consumed over the course of the weekend. Can these really be healthy?! I choose to suspend potential disbelief.

One of Whole Foods’ few bargains–79 c cold seltzer, neatly offered right up near the checkout counters. I PLOW through these on the weekends.

Offered FREE in Union Square! This, along with its counterpart, was a happy surprise!

No hummus would be completa withouta pita! (It’s getting clinical).

How’d that get in there? Oh dash it all, this 5 o’clock somewhere was the best street snack of the weekend! Enjoyed with my pals at Mercadito Restaurant.

My nail was just too ugly, I felt compelled to crop. This crunchy organic Braeburn hit the spot on a hot day. Apples are Mother Nature’s best portable snack!

Last but oh, oh never least. Justin’s Maple Almond Butter, straight up squirted into the pie-hole. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Woooo-wie! Looking back, that is some pretty aggressive mobile-eating! I definitely don’t advocate meals-on-the-go when they’re possible to avoid, but the above are some really great options for sustainable energy when you don’t have a choice!

The real highlights of my weekend were actually people (!) related, but unfortunately I’m a much more attentive food-tographer than friend-tographer, so I don’t have as much to show on the human front.

Frankly, I think it’s a testament to how much fun I was having with my friends that I just didn’t really think about capturing the moment! Frances and Lacy are both such wonderful, amazing women, and I loved every minute with them.

Nellie and lacy posing on Park Ave. I wasn’t the only street-walker!

Aaaannd Nellie’s birthday dinner (which, ahem, I organized) at Alta turned out fantastically!

My gorgeous, heart of grabthegold bar friend!

We ordered a ton of delectable tapas plates, including but not limited too fried goat cheese balls with honey, bacon-wrapped dates, pork empanadas, soft-shell crab, crispy brussels sprouts and meatballs!

Such a consistently delicious restaurant with great service and a festive atmosphere. PERRRRFECT for group events!

After Alta we bopped around to a few bars for beers, before Frances and I started drooping and capped the night around 11:30.

The trifecta!

I know it sounds totally lame that I left at 11:30, but our dinner started at 7:30 and well, I was exhausted! As much as I LOVE my friends, I am a naturally introverted person, and social situations are honestly pretty draining on me. Plus, I think it’s more responsible for me to take myself home when I start to get tired and cranky, ending the night on a positive note, than to gut it out and act like a Negative Nancy. Thoughts?

Overall, this was another stupendous weekend. Not only did I get wonderful QT with some ladies I rarely have the opportunity to see, but I knocked every darn item off of my “to-do” list! Feeeeelin’ good, peeps.

I ended the weekend with my usual joyful stint at Animal Haven this afternoon:

Out-of-control black lab puppies. Sorry I look like such a creep in the background, but holding them is the only way to get their wiggly butts to stop movin’!

I just polished off a killer homemade dessert, and my full, happy tummy is ready for bed!

Breyer’s Vanilla ice cream with crumbled coconut pecan cookie and peanut butter blobs. It’s a skill.

Have a relaxing Sunday night everyone!

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Strike 2…Or a New Era?

Happy Friday, Kids!

Before I get into the heavy stuff, can I please just share something with you? This morning, in our firm kitchen, I accidentally (still dunno how) dropped a container of Greek yogurt, and an ENORMOUS blob flew into my right EYEBALL. At first I started laughing at the utter hilarity of the situation, but then…oh man, then it started to sting like the DICKENS! I cleaned it out every whichaway I could think of—was literally seated on a footstool in the kitchen at 10 am, with a sweet coworker of mine squirting emergency flushing solution in my eye—but I am tellin’ you it hurt aaaallll day. Itstillhurts a bit! Who would have thought that my beloved Greek yogurt could cause such damage?!

Truth is though, I’m feelin’ a bit like I deserve a filmy bloodshot eye right now.

I DIDN’T!….Ok, yeah I did.

Why? Whelp, I’ve officially realized that I can no longer keep up with Protein Fridays :(. Starting next week, I will be out of town FOUR weekends in a row, three of which include Friday-daytime travel. I just won’t be able to post and measure out my eats!

As for today? Well, today I’m just pooped! There I said it. I’m real flippin’ tired and I want to speak to y’all naturally. I never wanted to force anything on my blog, and I feel like I wouldn’t be true to my purpose for starting if I just sat here mechanically typing and calculating.

But I do like you guys, so I kinda hope you like me too :).

Aside from the logistics of posting, though, I also think it might just be time for an end to the Protein Friday Era! I feel like Protein Friday has served the purpose that I wanted it to, which was to help me get an objective sense of how much protein I take in, and make any changes as I saw fit.

And FIT I FEEL! I absolutely believe that I’ve upped my protein as a result of these posts, and have a better sense of how much I need to incorporate into my daily eats.  As a result, I have noticeably more energy and feel stronger during my workouts. And I truly hope a few of you got something from it as well!

So Protein Friday, I bid you adieu, but I will keep you forever in my yogurt and nut butter!

The reason I am sooo wiped out right now is because LAST night I participated in the J.P. MORGAN CORPORATE CHALLENGE RACE with some other people from my firm!

The JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge is an annual 3.5-mile (5k) race “with an intended focus on promoting ‘fitness in the workplace‘. Teams are organized by company or organization, and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation makes charitable donations proportional to the number of participants (Wiki Source).

I absolutely adore any sort of group outdoor activity, especially for a good cause, so I signed up immediately when I heard that our company was creating a team! This was my fourth year running in the JPM Corporate Challenge, and it never ceases to amaze me how many people turn out for the event.

The human collective in its glory!

What keeps me coming back? That most of the people who participate are NOT runners, NOT in great shape, but they give it their all because they want to be a part of something beneficial to themselves and others. Gives me goosebumps just to think of it.

The run itself is a gorgeous, scenic route through Central Park, and I felt so bolstered by the energy of the crowd. I know I had the goofiest grin on my face all the way through the finish line!

Let me at it!

After the race ended, I went back to our designated company table and started herding my flock towards Brother Jimmy’s Barbeque in Murray Hill, where I’d organized I team dinner! I’d set up a pre-fixed menu of 3 apps, 3 entrees and 3 sides for 20 people, and as I soon as I arrived I requested that everything be brought out at once. We were a HONGRY crew!

We ended up with a SERIOUS messa delicious food, and I was able to snag a few leftover boxes of my favorites—pulled pork, corn on the cob and sweet ‘tater fries.

Can’t go wrong.

It was SO much fun to experience that kind of sweaty solidarity with my co-workers, and the meal was the a perfect end to an awesome night!

This weekend I am lucky enough to have several more UVA girlfriends in town (miss you already Sara :)), and it’s time to hit the hay so I can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to greet them in the morning!

I’m still a little bummed about what feels like a Protein Friday failure, but I just gotta trust that it’s OK for my blog to change and grow with me. It’s my baby and there are no rules :).

Another quick reminder to ENTER MY GIVEAWAY and potentially win a box of amazingly delicious chocolate-peanut butter snack bars! Click HERE for all the deets!

Don’t let me slip through your hot lil’ hands!

NIGHTY NIGHT!

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Before I dive into this post, I want to share something I read on a card that I received recently:

“To believe is to know that life is happening exactly as it is meant to be…

Stay true to yourself and don’t give up,

Because dreams really can come true.

Lovely, eh? As I have noted before, I do not believe that things ‘happen for a reason’ in the sense that some divine or supernatural hand is moving the elements of our lives around like pawns in a chess game. What I do believe is that we often make decisions for reasons we can’t recognize at the time. Our subconscious takes care of us, sets us (albeit shakily) on the right path, even if we can’t appreciate why immediately.

For example, we may not understand why we feel compelled to eat cake as a pre-work morning snack, but clearly our body knows something we don’t…

Oh, wait, think I figured it out.

A few weeks ago I was researching easy chocolate cake recipes, and I came across a recipe for something called Wacky Cake. Have y’all heard of a Wacky Cake?! Apparently, this brilliant cake resulted from a need to ration during the Depression and World War II, as milk and eggs were scarce.

Miraculously, the unconventional ingredient list still yields a fabulously delicious result! I was blown away by the rave reviews online, but a lil’ tickle in my brain told me I could take it a step beyond wacky and make it yummier AND healthier...

Insane Chocolate Banana Cake (Wacky Cake 2012 Style)

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ripe banana, pureed in a blender or mashed reeealll good (Note: if you want the extra moisture that this provided but don’t like banana flavor, add another tbs of oil OR you could try adding 1/4 c yogurt or applesauce)
  • 4 generous tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 cup cold brewed decaf coffee, 1/4 water
  • Generous 1/2 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips (I used TJ 72% Pound Plus obvs)
Since I didn’t have time to wait for brewed coffee to cool in the fridge, I tested something out that prolly everyone already does except me, and it was a great success!

Just iced up me coffee pot! Call me Captain Obvious, but I may or may not have done a happy dance when I poured cool coffee outta this thing.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Grease an 8×8 inch cake pan with some melted buttah.
  3. In one bowl, gently mix your flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cocoa.
  4. In another bowl, mix your oil, pureed banana, vinegar, coffee and vanilla. Slowly add your dry ingredients into the wet and mix until barely incorporated.
  5. Add the chocolate chips and give just a few more stirs.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

Ain’t nothin’ depressing here.

PEOPLE—this cake is SO chocolately, SO moist, SO delicious! AND it is absolutely a top nutritional contender in the baked goods world. Plus it’s easy peasy.

Once again, I used my taste tester (roomie Carina) as a gauge, and this cake elicited a this is so ridiculously good I can’t help but giggle burst of laughter. So laugh and eat…insanely…we did!

Lemme know if you give it a try, and don’t forget to enter my GIVEAWAY for your chance to win an entire box of my favorite Chocolate Peanut Butter Grab the Gold snack bars! Click HERE for details. The giveaway ends Sunday night!

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Gosh golly, it’s already here! Another WIAW!

I totally sweat What I Ate Wednesdays—they have such a fun sense of healthy-living-blogger solidarity :).

Though we’re scattered across the country, we’re united by a common goal to be healthy but moderate, which means enjoying the goodies that life has to offer!

If you’re not familiar with WIAW, click HERE to read all about it on Jen’s blog, Peas and Crayons.

Today was perfect timing for a “What I Ate” day, because everything I chose to munch was completely DELICIOUS. As I was typing this post, I kept finding myself wanting to describe everything Tony the Tiger style (like me?)!

So without further delay…

Breakfast: Oh man this was SO good! Whole wheat English muffin, lightly toasted: 1/2 with butter, 1/2 with almond butter and strawberry preserves. Chobani plain Greek yogurt with sliced grapes aaaand Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal!

The cereal was a last-minute and brilliant addition if I do say so, and I think this particular brand might top the charts for me. P.S. if you haven’t tried grapes in Greek yogurt yet, I implore you! Game.Changer.

Lunch Part 1: Assorted fresh veg with outrageously addictive pesto mayo.

Lunch Part 2: Heart-healthy-olive-oil-fried falafel, uber-doughy whole wheat pita bread and sesame tahina sauce for dippin’! YUM.

So moist! Must create a baked version.

I also enjoyed an unpictured square of Trader Joe’s 72% Pound Plus dark chocolate with milky mint tea after lunch! I snapped a shot, but it literally just looked like a nugget of coal.

Daily fruit fix

Switched it up for one of Food’s most famous pairs! Specifically, cheddar and Mutigrain Wheat Thins! I could eat cheese and crackers till the cows come home…because I’ve used up their milk supply…eating cheese.

Since I realized last week that the current WIAW theme is Sensible Snacking, I’ve been wanting to mix it up and bring back some old afternoon favorites (click to check out a list of my Sensible Snacking ideas!).  This is definitely one! Most of the time I crave sweet  over savory, but today cheese and crack sounded just right and my palate was quite pleased :).

Last of some Peanut M&Ms I shared with coworkers

Kashi Chewy PB Bar—gets me over that brutal 6:30 pm commute crash.

Sorry for the awful picture! RANDOM but fabulous dinner: Leftover Speck, mushroom, spinach, TRUFFLE OIL pizza from Emporio! And a hodgepodge salad that I packed with every protein source available to bulk it up: hummus, sesame seeds, sesame tahina sauce, Almond-Basil Pesto. There was method to my madness–SO tasty!

Moist, fudgey chocolate cake with Vanilla Protein Frostingrecipe coming soon! NOM NOM.

Suuucchhh a happy belly right now, and it’s just about time for my bed and my book.

Today I started reading Drop Dead Healthy for my Peanut Butter Fingers Book Blub, and I am already hooked.

Have you guys read this?  I’ll be reviewing it in a few weeks so I don’t wanna go into too much detail, but it is CHOCK full of interesting health-related factoids and ideas, and I won’t be able help sharing some with you!

For example! In researching all facets of what it means to be truly “healthy”, author A.J. Jacobs points out today’s noise epidemic:

“Around 26 million adults are walking around with noise-induced hearing loss. And with our omnipresent earbuds, that number is bound to rise.”

As a typical New Yorker who walks everywhere with headphones stuck in her ears, excess noise as an aspect of health never crossed my mind before. I’m super lucky to live in a neighborhood that is fabulously quiet, but it definitely doesn’t negate the honking, yelling and drilling that I hear on a daily basis.

Not sure what to make of this yet, but definitely something to consider…

Anyways, I’m wiped and ready for bed. Hope you enjoyed this week’s WIAW, and don’t forget to ENTER MY GIVEAWAY FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A BOX OF DELICIOUS GRAB THE GOLD SNACK BARS! (Click HERE for more details).

Nighty night!

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Benefits with Friends

If you’ve been following my blog for even just a few weeks, you know that I adore my girlfriends. I rave about them constantly in my posts and thank my lucky stars that they’ve stuck around through the bumbles!

New York can be a bully, and I’d argue that a supportive network of pals is uniquely crucial for women living in NYC. This city is an equal opportunist, pleased to provide you with the highest highs, but just as willing to tear you down as low as you can go. If you live here long enough, you know that there’s no escaping both.

Families are far and men can be unreliable. When you’re navigating youth in NYC, you need someone there to grab the other bootstrap.

Or…feed you?

The power of female companionship and advice while we’re stuck on—and clinging to—this island cannot be underestimated.

Sometimes they have the right answer, and often it’s the answer you didn’t want to hear, but occasionally they miss the mark, and you know in your gut that their answer isn’t the right one for you.

What then?!

As we grow up and jobs become careers and boyfriends becomes spouses, friends naturally take on more of a supporting role. They stop knowing everything about your life. Likewise, you stop really knowing what goes on behind their closed doors.

And the question becomes: When do we become the ultimate authority on our own life? HOW do we—scary as it is—start trusting ourselves to make our own decisions?

I feel like I’ve been toeing this line oh so precariously lately. Very few things hurt me more than hurting my friends, but I’ve come to the frightening realization that they’re not always going to be able to fill in the gaps for me!

So how do you preserve the friendship, while making it clear that you’re sticking to your guns?

I’d be lying if I said I’d come to any sort of steadfast resolution on this. However, I am slowly learning to navigate these ‘conflicts’ so that they play out and settle permanently as mere, mellow differences of opinion:

When your bestie gives you her thoughts, and they just don’t seem to ring true…STOP for moment.

Take a deep breath and take off a sweater, a scarf—SOME layer of  self-defensiveness that you’re probably wearing (lord knows I bundle up).  Ask yourself objectively if they’re getting at something you just realllyyy don’t want to admit. Take a look at the picture from their point of view.

You will know deep in your belly if they’ve struck a truth that you couldn’t or didn’t want to see—or not!

If you still feel that they’re off base, which they’re entitled to be (!), then be grateful for their advice, tell them that you understand and appreciate where they’re coming from, but make the decision as you see fit and don’t apologize! Don’t look back. You’ve got this, girl!

If you handle it with love and tact, letting your buds know that you need their words and support even if you don’t always agree, your friendship will be no worse for the wear. In fact, I’d argue you’re one step closer to being friends for life, cause that’s what grown ups do (I’m learning)!

From knee socks and plaid skirts!

At the end of the day, we must be responsible for our decisions as adults. With age and life-complications, time with friends becomes more scarce (yet more precious!), and it’s unfair to expect your pals to still have all the answers.

So don’t! Listen to eachother, acknowledge and respect eachother’s difference without trying to change them, and know that there’s really nothin’ worth jeopardizing what you share.

Got these ones in the bag 🙂

Before you head out, don’t forget to participate in my giveaway for an entire box of delicious Grab the Gold snack bars!

You can read all the details and enter by commenting on my Grab the Gold Bar Giveaway post, or feel free to comment on this post for the giveaway as well (unless you’ve already entered :)).

Have a fantastic Tuesday night!

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Holla! How did your investigations go? You know, for your Case of the Mondays?

Well, in CASE you missed it; here’s what I’ve been up to the past few days, along with a scrumdidlyumptious recipe that you probably already have most of the ingredients for in your pantry!

Exquiche me, Are You Going to Eat That?

Season’s Hottest Chick Flick and a Giveaway Reminder

Ok, I know you’ve all been chomping at the bit screen for the start of my giveaway (always had a wild imagination), and your patience has finally been rewarded!

I mentioned them on DAY 1 of my blog. In my very first post, A Sneak Snack Peak, I gushed over the amazingness that are GRAB THE GOLD BARS!!!

Yummy doesn’t do them justice! Soon-to-be heavy in YOUR hot lil’ hands?!

And now, an ENTIRE BOX of these delectable circles can be yours!

The Grab the Gold website describes them as “A Healthy On-the-Go-Snack: All natural with with organic oats and soy nuggets and a delicious CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER taste”

And I describe them as yummy in my tummy, plus being super good for you! I have yet to find a packaged snack that satisfies my tastebuds and gives me the same prolonged energy boost as these babies.

Plus, look at their bangerang nutritional stats: 1 bar has 193 cals, 5 grams of fat, 25 grams of (good) carbs, 7 grams of fiber (!) and 11 grams of protein (!)

Click HERE to check out the Grab the Gold product sheet for a full ingredient list AND to see how GTGs stack up against other leading bars.

So what’s the catch (you sly devils)?!

These ROCKSTAR bars are NIGH impossible to find! They’re sold in select stores in several Southern and Midwestern states, but they haven’t gone commercial anywhere and they’re nowhere to be found in NYC. Thing is, they’re SO good that I end up biting the bullet and ordering them at a pretty price tag.

Shining Glory!

Well, one lucky winner is going to be able to have their bars and eat them too for a MUCH more palatable price tag!

Let’s get to it!

HERE’S HOW TO ENTER:

There are multiple ways to win! Please leave a separate comment below for each of the following for that many more chances to win (For example, if you tweet about the giveaway, leave a separate comment saying “I tweeted about your giveaway! And maybe copy the tweet for good measure).

  1. Riddle me this: What snack can’t you live without?
  2. Follow my blog by clicking “Follow” on the right side of the home screen.
  3. Follow me on twitter! (@llbeaniebumbles)
  4. Tweet about this giveaway.
  5. Blog about this giveaway on your blog.

[Note: I will be responsible for the shipping payment, but I have to limit the giveaway to U.S. addresses. So all my foreign friends out there, sincere apologies!]

The giveaway will end at midnight this Sunday, June 17th at 11:59 pm EST. I will use a random generator to select the winner, and I will announce who it is on Monday. (Stay tuned because I’ll need a valid email address to contact the lucky one) The prize must be claimed by the winner within 48 hours or an alternate winner will be selected.

(This giveaway is sponsored by Beanie Bumbles.)

The giveaway is officially underway. Good luck!


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