a few of my favorite things:.

Recently I have been BOMBARDED with wedding planning…and I have really been slacking on the blog posts [sorry].  To ensure that I didn’t overlook anything crucial in my day-to-day eating and exercising regime, I figured I would put together a list of some of my favorite [cant.do.without] things.  Who knows, maybe this will become a regular occurance every month or so…

1. MaraNatha | All Natural No Stir Almond Butter [crunchy]

almond butter

It took me a few tries to really learn to LOVE almond butter, but now I just can’t do without it.  It is far less sweet than regular peanut butter…the MaraNatha is also alot thicker.  When used in baking or protein shakes though, I find that I can’t really even tell the difference between the two–you still get that nutty, creamy taste.  Altogether, almonds are a more nutrient-rich nut with less monosaturated fats and oils.

2. Just Great Stuff | Organic Powdered Chocolate Peanut Butter

powdered peanut butter

While on the nut-butter topic, lets talk about my sweet tooth.  It is absolutely no secret at all that I love anything sweet.  I always need that one little sweet taste after dinner or a salty snack…and I LOVE to bake.  Well, straight almond or peanut butter weren’t cutting it when I wanted something sweet…that is when I used to go for a Hershey bar or the jar of Nutella [no joke, the fiance walked in from work one night and found me on the couch with a jar of Nutella and an entire box of Nilla Wafers…PORTION CONTROL, PEOPLE!].  My sweet friend Lauren turned me on to powdered chocolate-peanut butter.  Yes. Powdered. Chocolate. Peanut. BUTTER.  So you add 1 tbsp to every 2 tbsp of this stuff…then you mix it up and voila! peanut butter!  You can add more or less water to get to your desired consitency [Lauren swears by making it nice and thin and using it on pancakes].  The standard recipe consistency ends up being like brownie batter, so it even tricks your brain into thinking that you are eating some forbidden treat.  It works in baking, it works in protein shakes, you can even spread it on sandwiches…as for me, I love dipping strawberries in it.

Now, lets break it down…2 tbsp of powdered Just Great Stuff (or PB2) is only 40 calories and 1 gram of fat.  Regular, processed peanut butter is 210 calories and 17 grams of fat in the same 2 tbsp serving [!!!!].  The downside is that almond butter and powdered peanut butter are both more expensive than [the already expensive] processed peanut butter…but what is more important, your health or having bar money for the weekend?  Ok, don’t answer that.

3. New Balance | N4 Heart Rate Monitor Watch

NB HRM Watch

I longed and longed and longed for a HRM watch after I got into my gym routine, but I am cheap.  I am also very poor from the impending wedding.  I really wanted the Polar FT4 beauty, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger.  I thought, “Get a cheaper one, see if it is comfortable, see if you like it, and then we can go from there…” So, I went over to Target and bought the New Balance N4 Womens HRM–it was even cheaper than New Balance’s website.  I think I paid $60 and then even got the 5% off with my Target RedCard.  Well worth it thus far.  That 542 calorie burn reading was after my “Fat Blaster” once-a-week workout that takes about 75 min.  A 30-35 minute 5K [3.12 mile] run has been registering at about a 315 cal burn…and that is based on my personal settings [25 years old, 125lbs, female…median heart rate zone]  The watch is really slim, light, water resistant, and obviously has a timer, regular time, time “in the zone” [ideal heart rate–set to low, middle, or high], and ability to save 9 different workouts…basically everything that I need.  Nothing too fancy.  Personally, I like that it is about a third of the size of the Polar watches, but that probably won’t keep me from upgrading in the months/years to come.

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