Pre-Thanksgiving Feast {Healthy} Snack Ideas

Thanksgiving is coming! Thanksgiving is coming!

Although Turkey Day Pumpkin Pie Day isn’t my favorite holiday (Christmas has that in the bag!), I’m looking forward to starting a few fun family traditions this year. While I would be happy with a tradition of perusing the Black Friday newspaper ads and getting a head start on my online holiday shopping, I have to consider what the boys in my life would like to do as well.

Sports. ALL the sports, especially football on Thanksgiving Day. Even little Deany likes to watch the football players running around on the green turf. It must be genetic… and not from my side ;)

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I like shopping. They like football. Thankfully we can agree on one thing, snacking during both activities is a must!

While the turkey is cooking and the potatoes are being mashed and the cranberry salad is being prepared, with the sound of football in the background and a few of my favorite stores pulled up on my laptop screen, snacks galore will be passed around the house. Since Thanksgiving dinner (and – ahem – the dessert) won’t be the healthiest of meals, I like to opt for a bit of tasty nutrition during the pre-Thanksgiving feast snack and game watching fest! We will have a cheeseball. There will be guacamole. Grapes are a must. And my favorite crunchy item?

Almonds!

Specifically, Blue Diamond Smokehouse and Wasabi & Soy Sauce almonds.

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Super crunchy. Definitely savory. A little kick in the Wasabi & Soy Sauce flavor and my favorite smoky essence with the Smokehouse flavor. I love to pair them with a fruit and veggie platter – Their flavors add a little something to the sweet fruit and fresh veggies. The Blue Diamond canisters are also perfect for – as I like to call it – sofa snacking. Easy to pop open and close while being passed around during game time… and less risk for a mess makes me happy ;)

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On Thursday, I’m going to throw a big ol’ bowl of guacamole (Kyle’s my expert guacamole chef – It is a football gameday favorite!), the aforementioned easy-to-make cheeseball (I’m actually going to use the Wasabi & Soy Sauce almonds on the outside – It’s going to be DELISH!), and homemade almond butter onto the platter as well. I’m almost as excited for the pre-feast snacks (and shopping, hehe…) as I am the meal.

Who says who have to sacrifice flavor when it comes to eating healthy on gameday? Just grab yourself some fresh produce and a can of Blue Diamond Almonds and you have yourself a healthy gameday (and holiday!) snack.

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What is your favorite snack item to munch on while watching football? Favorite flavor of Blue Diamond almonds?

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. Ditch the chips and grab some Game Changing Flavors this football season! Enter for a chance to win the Ultimate Football Party Prize Pack, get great savings and ideas for delicious snack hacks at GameChangingFlavors.com.

The case of the disappearing almonds

We have a mystery on our hands this afternoon.

My almonds. They’re GONE.

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Well, I guess they’re not entirely gone… The canister and pouch are in plain view on my kitchen counter. But to my dismay, they are both empty. EMPTY!

You see, I was ridiculously excited when Blue Diamond sent their Salted Caramel (<– yes, they are as good as they sound!) and Blueberry flavored almonds to my doorstep. So excited in fact that I told the hubs to stay far away from them or else ;)

I do love him, I promise!

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These almonds and their deliciousness were going to be alllll mine. And then before my very eyes, they vanished.

I can’t blame Mitchell, especially since the containers are still intact. Although he has been known to eat almonds off of the floor when I grabbed a large handful and dropped a few…

Dean isn’t the culprit – Even though I had a dream that he all of a sudden had a mouth full of teeth (dreams are bizarre), he can’t chomp on my favorite nuts quite yet.

And Kyle? Hmm… Maybe it was him. Although I swore the containers were full one day when he left for work and by that afternoon the almonds were no more.

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I guess that leaves one person to blame… Yep, that’s right. Yours truly.

I kept telling myself to leave a few almonds left in the containers so I could take some lovely photographs but they were just TOO GOOD! Every. single. time. I would pass by them in my kitchen, I would take a small-ish (okay, BIG) handful and go about my day. Apparently those handfuls added up over a few days and before I knew it, there were no more almonds left.

Dang.

Thankfully, I can find more of these flavors at the Target and Publix here in Naples. Seriously, do yourself a favor and pick up some of the Salted Caramel or Blueberry flavored almonds TODAY. It’s like a dessert party in your mouth sans crazy amounts of sugar.

I can get down with that.

And for real, nobody better touch my almonds the next time I stock up ;)

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

Do you ever have your favorite foods disappear before your very eyes? What is your favorite flavor of Blue Diamond Almonds?

Almond milk, let me count the ways I love you

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that I have a slight love affair with almonds and almond milk.

Today I thought I’d share all of the ways I LOVE to consume almond milk, specifically Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk Vanilla Unsweetened.


Ice Cream <— Who doesn’t like to eat ice cream, especially when it’s made a bit healthier with almond milk?!

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Poured over oatmeal.

And cereal.

Blended into a smoothie.

In a big ol’ glass.

Cookies (I have subbed in Almond Breeze in my baking recipes multiple times and they’ve turned out well!)

Frozen into ice cubes <– great for smoothies or a “dessert” if you add a few chocolate chips to the mix

Overnight oats or muesli.

I would say that my favorite way to eat/drink Almond Breeze is most definitely in a smoothie. Super versatile when it comes to flavors – berry or mango or chocolate or peanut butter banana – and a refreshing snack in my hot Florida climate.

What is your favorite way to drink or eat Almond Breeze?

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

A Naples Adventure

Living in a new place is always an adventure! While Kyle and I have lived in Naples, Florida since October, it is our first summer in SW Florida and we had (and still have) no clue what to expect.

We were told to get used to heat and rain and humidity, LOTS of rain and humidity. So far, the heat hasn’t been too bad (much better than snow, in my opinion) and the rain wasn’t unbearable either, until the last few days at least. But I digress, as much as you might want to chit chat, we aren’t talking about the weather today… unless we want to pretend we are 80-year old men ;)

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In Florida we are lucky enough to have outdoor adventures year round, but summer always calls for a few beach trips, especially when you live so close to the water! While our sunset trip a few days ago was a total fail (boo storms!), Naples is known for its amazing, colorful sunsets each evening.

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Watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico is always a beautiful experience. Hues of red and orange and pink fill the sky and the reflection on the water is just as breathtaking. They are one of my favorite parts of living in Naples!

The only problem with sunsets is the time of day <– LOL! This time of year, the sun sets around 8:15pm which means you want to be to the beach around 7:30pm to snag a good spot and to see the sun in all its glory. And that means that viewing a sunset cuts into dinnertime, not good for someone who gets hangry if they don’t eat on time ;)

Enter – BEACH SNACKS!! Specifically beach sunset snacks.

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This summer I’ve been lovin’ Blue Diamond Almonds for a quick, filling snack to hold me over until a late, post-sunset dinner. Their canisters fit perfectly in my bag (Yes, this is Dean’s diaper bag BUT I have also tried them out in my other non-mom bags and my beach bags.) and I trust that they aren’t going to break open and make a mess all over. The canisters are easy to open and close (A must have for a beach outing!) for a quick handful of almonds. Plus, Blue Diamond Almonds are the best tasting almonds out there. I know you agree if you’ve tried ’em :)

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Easy to grab. Great tasting. Filling yet they won’t ruin your appetite. Blue Diamond Almonds are where it is at for your next summer adventure. And while you’re looking into summer adventures, make a trip down to Naples – Dean and I love to entertain!

Where do you like to visit during the summer? What has been your favorite adventure this summer?

This “Flavor Your Adventure” post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more snack ideas to “Flavor Your Adventure” this summer, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sriracha Deviled Eggs

Sriracha. It’s on the hot list for condiments at the moment. One of the “it” foods, if there is such a thing as a popular food item ;)

Who doesn’t love that spicy kick you get from adding a squirt of our favorite hot sauce to tacos or scrambled eggs or quesadillas or macaroni ‘n cheese or… you name it!

Sriracha (and all things spicy, to be honest) is a staple in our household so when Blue Diamond reached out about their new BOLD Sriracha-flavored almonds, I couldn’t jump at the opportunity fast enough. As soon as I received the canisters of almonds in the mail, I knew I wanted to create a fun, summer, party-ish recipe with these bad boys. So, as I snacked my way through one of the canisters, I came up with a genius idea.

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Can recipes be genius? Maybe? No? Okay… maybe not a genius idea but a tasty one for sure!

Sriracha is amazing on eggs, am I right? We ALL love deviled eggs, am I right x2?

Yes and YES.

SOOOOO, why not combine two of our favorite items – Sriracha + deviled eggs = WINNING combination!

I’ll admit, Kyle was a total skeptic when I started whipping this recipe up last weekend. Once he had a bite, however, he decided that this twist on his favorite deviled egg was definitely a good one.

Sriracha Deviled Eggs.

Quick to throw together. Perfect for a party. Semi-healthy. A little kick of spice. And a side of traditional.

What’s not to love?

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Sriracha Deviled Eggs

Makes 12 “halves”

Ingredients:

  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 1-2 TBSP Sriracha
  • 2 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayo (or plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup Blue Diamond BOLD Sriracha almonds, broken into pieces

Directions:

Slice eggs in half and place egg yolks in a medium bowl. Mix Sriracha, mustard, and mayo in with the yolks until smooth and creamy. Place one spoonful of the yolk “filling” in each of the eggs. Top with almonds. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Enjoy!

These will keep for 2 days in an airtight container… If they last that long ;)

What is your favorite way to enjoy Sriracha?

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. My love of Sriracha (and this recipe!) along with my opinions are my own ;)

The one item I forgot…

From the crib to the dresser to the recliner. Books to cute little outfits to diapers. I thought I had the entire nursery covered when it came to what we would need for Baby Dean.

Turns out, I missed one thing.

The baby had everything he needed and then some, but I forgot the most important nursery item for mama and daddy…

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A snack basket!

It’s well-known that breastfeeding mama’s need extra calories to keep up with that milk production, but daddy’s need snacks as well. It’s hard to wake up for midnight (and 2am… and 4am… and 6am…) feedings and diaper changes without having a little extra fuel to keep you going.

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With a baby you need snacks that you can easily eat with one hand. If you’re a parent, you know what I mean… I didn’t believe it until Baby Dean arrived, but it’s inevitable, as soon as sit down to a meal or attempt to grab a snack with both hands, the baby will cry and your stomach will be left growling as you tend to your darling little gremlin. (Does anyone else have a baby that scrunches up his face to look like a sweet little gremlin? Haha – poor guy already has quite a list of nicknames!)

Anyways…

Enter, the one-handed snack basket for the nursery! All you need is a basket close to the nursing chair that is full of snacks (and water!) that are easy to grab, easy to eat, and healthy for the new parents.

Yup, healthy. Now more than ever – especially with that intense sleep deprivation, your body needs good-for-you foods to keep that energy flowing. Plus, healthy snacks = optimal nutrients going into your baby’s body :)

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So, what is in our nursery snack basket?

  • Dried fruit <– Specifically apricots as they are good for milk production.
  • Water bottles <– We try to bring in tap water from the kitchen, but sometimes, especially at 3am with a screaming baby, it’s easy to forget on the way to the nursery.
  • Meal bars <– Lotsa protein to keep your body going for the lil’ baby.
  • Snack bars <– When you’re hungry, but not THAT hungry for an entire meal bar.
  • Blue Diamond Almonds <– Specifically, the Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate flavors. Yum, yum! Almonds are also a fabulous food for milk production and anything that I can do to keep the little man fed is something that is good in my book. Plus, if something that is chocolate-flavored can be considered healthy, count me in ;)

Speaking of Blue Diamond Almonds, I love the new packaging for their almonds. Not only is it easier to open one-handed than the canisters, it is also more environmentally-friendly and I’m all about that! The bags are also lighter and much easier to throw into a diaper bag (or purse or gym bag or work bag). Thanks for changing it up, Blue Diamond!

So, soon-to-be mama’s and daddy’s, make sure you don’t forget what you need for YOU in the nursery. And that means snacks ;)

Parents – What did you realize you needed in the nursery once the baby arrived? What is your favorite, middle-of-the-night snack to get you through baby feedings and diaper changes?

What is your favorite, healthy, on-the-go snack that you always keep handy?

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. As are my current 2am feedings ;) Thanks for the healthy snacks, Blue Diamond! Baby Dean loves them too :)

Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk Review

I have a confession…

I hate coconut water… unless it is from a real live coconut which are few and far between here in the 48 contiguous states.

The flavor is not thirst quenching and it leaves an awful aftertaste. The thought of it kinda makes me gag. Just being honest ;)

Coconut milk on the other hand, I LOVE. It makes fabulous Indian cuisine. It’s super easy to incorporate into a recipe. It helps to satiate hunger. Plus, it’s good for ya! Win-win if you ask me.

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When Almond Breeze offered to send me their new almond-coconut milk, I was worried that the flavor would be watered down and similar to the dreaded coconut water. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of Unsweetened Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk!

A little almond milk-y. A little coconut-y. And oh so tropical. It’s not super heavy or watered down. And it’s delicious with oatmeal (especially overnight oatmeal – yup, I still love it even in hot Florida!) and poured on top of cereal and by the glass, especially with a lush, Florida view ;)

Did you also know that it has 50% more calcium than regular milk? Heck yes!

I didn’t create a new recipe for this delicious almond-coconut combination, but below are a few that would be oh so tasty with a slight coconut flavor! If you try them out, let me know!

What is your favorite coconut flavor combination? Any good coconut recipes you’d like to share?

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almond Milk. Thank you for your support!

Healthy Pregnancy Snacking

As you’ve seen in the first two parts of my pregnancy series with Molly, I have *tried* to maintain a somewhat healthy lifestyle while pregnant. <– Try being the key word here ;)

Thankfully, my cravings have been for mostly healthy foods, especially when it comes to snack time. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the occasional bag (yes, the entire bag…) of Doritos as well as a few trips to the local fro-yo shop and large handfuls of Monster Mix definitely happened. But hey, y’all know I’m all about balance plus, pregnancy perks, right?

My healthy snack cravings have included…

Fruit and lots of it!

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Chipotle <– okay, this is more of a meal buttttttt I’m pregnant and eating for two so I’m calling this a snack, LOL. When in Rome Pregnancy Land.

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Peanut butter on toast.

Eggs and avocado.

And last, but definitely not least, nuts! I was super thankful when Blue Diamond offered to send me samples of their Honey Dijon Almonds and Honey Roasted Cinnamon Almonds because it was just what the baby was requesting… demanding little guy ;)

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These almonds are definitely the easiest portable snack that I can keep on me at all times – and my fellow mamas know, sometimes you just HAVE to eat when you’re pregnant! They’re easy to pop open in the car, at the movies, while sitting on the sofa – you name it. Plus, they’re healthy and I know that I’m providing my baby with nutrients that he needs to grow into a healthy newborn. And a healthy baby = a happy mama.

As for the flavors, they are INCREDIBLE! I love the tangy, mustard flavor of the Honey Dijon and the sweet crunch of the Honey Roasted Cinnamon reminds me of the homemade cinnamon toast I would eat for breakfast as a child. My biggest dilemma these days is which flavor to snack on first!

I’m also a huge fan of Blue Diamond’s Beecause We Care campaign and did a post on it last fall. Supporting honeybees is important to me and I love that Blue Diamond promotes the cause.

Now tell me… What is your favorite healthy (and unhealthy) snack? Do you prefer sweet or savory when it comes to snacking options?

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. I was provided product and compensation but, as always, all options (especially those of the snacking kind) are my own.

Healthy {Green} St. Patrick’s Day Smoothie

St. Patrick’s Day – I’m sure most of you celebrated over the weekend, yes?

All of that weekend celebrating calls for something healthy and GREEN. I mean, it IS St. Patrick’s Day (tomorrow) after all ;)

There are plenty of healthy green foods out there to indulge in this March holiday… green beans, asparagus, green apples, brussel sprouts, green grapes, and the list goes on. But it is St. Patrick’s Day and we need to DRINK something green. #amiright?!

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So, today I bring you something that you can whip up in your blender in a few seconds flat.

It might not be pretty but… It’s healthy. It’s slightly sweet. It’s perfect for a hurried weekday breakfast. And – most importantly, it’s green.

Green like a summer’s lawn. Green like the Chicago River. Green like your clothes better be tomorrow. And green like we’re pretending the smoothie in my photo below looks (because it is green in real life, haha!) ;)

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Healthy {Green} St. Patrick’s Day Smoothie

Makes 1 smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Milk
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop vanilla or chocolate protein powder (I like this one.)

Directions:

Throw all ingredients into your favorite blender and pulse until smooth. Pour into a shamrock-covered glass and enjoy!

Yes, this post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almond Milk, but even if this weren’t sponsored, I would still use it in my morning smoothie! Full of calcium, unsweetened, great flavor, low in calories – It is the perfect addition to your morning smoothie or your cereal or however else you like to enjoy your almond milk.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almond Milk.

Almond-Crusted Chicken Bites – A Game Changing Snack!

In a few short days, football fans and socialites alike with gather for the biggest game of the year.

Whether you are a serious football connoisseur, advertisement expert, food and beer lover, or a loving spouse there for moral support, you can’t deny the deliciousness Sunday will bring.

Chips and guacamole. Cheesy dips. Burgers and brats. Chili. Bean-filled taquitos. Beer. Margaritas. Soda pop. #gimmeALLthefoods

If we’re being honest, the day is bound to be full of less-than-healthy snacks. But hey, that’s what football is all about, right? Gathering with friends, eating foods that will make your stomach hurt (LOL) and cheering on your favorite team.

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Today, I’m bringing you a game changing snack and adding in a bit o’ healthy into a typically not-so-good-for-you day. Are you down with that?!

Almond-Crusted Chicken Bites.

These three-ingredient bites are not only quick ‘n easy, they can be made ahead (wahoo!), pack some major flavor, have a savory crunch that will delight your taste buds, and taste fabulous dipped in hot sauce.

And you can’t tell me you don’t love that bottle of hot sauce ;)

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Almond-Crusted Chicken Bites

Makes 30 bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup Blue Diamond Almonds <– I used 1/2 cup Smokehouse and 1/2 cup Wasabi & Soy Sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a non-stick mat onto a baking sheet. (If you do not have a non-stick mat, use tin foil sprayed with baking spray.) Crunch almonds in a blender or, if you like to wake your neighbors on a Sunday morning, by placing them in a sealed sandwich baggie and beating them with a wooden spoon. Dip chicken pieces into egg and then place into almond bag. Shake, shake shake! Once chicken is coated in almond pieces, place onto baking sheet. (If you have extra almond pieces, sprinkle them on top of chicken.) Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cooked through. If making ahead, store in airtight container in fridge. Reheat for approximately 1-2 minutes in microwave when ready to serve.

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These are beyond flavorful on their own, but would be delicious dipped in ranch, guacamole, or your favorite hot sauce!

Make these for your friends. Make these for your picky eater. Make these for your protein lover. JUST MAKE THESE. They’ll be the hit of your Sunday party and you won’t even have to admit that they’re healthy.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more Game Changing Snacks, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What are your plans for the game on Sunday? Is there anyone else besides me that doesn’t know who’s playing, LOL?

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