Thursday, 28 February 2013

Product Review: The Simply Bar

Good Morning Everyone,

I have a review for one of my favourite protein bars today, The Simply Bar

This bar is great, because it is gluten-free, dairy free, vegan, low GI, high protein and high fibre. It is great for athletes and people who are health-conscious, and although I personally am trying to move away from obsessing over calorie and macromolecule contents in food, they are also low in calories and carbs.

They are great for people with certain allergies and dietary restrictions, and one of my favourite aspects of the Simply Bar is that they are low in sugar without using artificial sweeteners. I find that many protein bars are far too sweet, whether they are sweetened with sugar or substitutes, which only makes me crave sweets more! These have the perfect balance of flavour and sweetness.

Each bar contains 16 g protein, paired with 2-4g of fat, under 3 g of sugar, 4 g of fiber, and 160 calories or less. Each bar is based on non-GMO soy crisps along with organic brown rice syrup, and all the cocoa bars are made with organic cocoa mass.

The Simply Bar

Cinnamon Pecan:

I dug into this one first because, as most of you know, I'm a cinnamophile. I thought the flavours and textures worked together perfectly. It wasn't too sweet, but it had a great cinnamon kick, something I find to be lacking in many other cinnamon-flavoured bars.

Peanut Butter Chocolate:

This was another one of my favourites. I actually liked it even more than the same flavour in Quest bars. I found the cocoa and peanut butter flavours were very authentic and didn't taste artificial at all. It was like a dark chocolate peanut butter cup or something, only a lot less sweet.

Caramel Peanut:

This was the only bar I actually didn't like. I didn't taste the caramel in it at all, and although I like the fact that Simply Bars aren't sweet, this one really didn't have any sweetness to it at all. It did have big peanut chunks, but that's about the only thing I liked about it.

Cocoa with Raspberry:

This wasn't my favourite, but I still liked it. It actually had raspberry bits all through it rather than just a raspberry flavour, and the fruitiness offered a nice contrast to the other bars. If this had been raspberry and white chocolate, I would have just about died over it :)

Lemon Coconut:

Even though I have never really liked lemon desserts, this was one of my favourite Simply Bars. It reminded me a little of the Lemon Zest Luna bar, but without the sugary yogurt coating. I am also a huge coconut fan, so I loved the big pieces of chewy coconut in this bar. Definitely one of the better kinds!

Coffee Cocoa:

I am not a coffee drinker by any means, but I do like coffee-flavoured things, like ice cream and liquer. This bar reminded me of chocolate covered coffee beans, but it wasn't too sweet. Overall, I was a big fan, despite my coffee-averse ways.

Simply Whey

One of their newer products is the Simply Whey bar. They have very similar nutritional stats to the regular Simply Bars, but they are made with whey protein and come in different flvaours.

Apple Cinnamon:

I think I'm in love. This bar is crispy, crunchy, sticky, filled with chewy apple pieces and has the most amazing cinnamon flavour. Plus, it still is not too sweet! I just love how the company understands that protein bars don't need to be full of sugar or artificial sweeteners in order to taste good.


I thought I had hit the jackpot when I tried the Apple Cinnamon kind, but Coconut blew me out of the water and is by far my favourite product from this company. It was chewy, crispy and had an amazing coconut flavour. It was a little bit sweeter than the regular Simply Bars, but I actually found the sweetness to be perfect. I could almost compare this bar to a crispy macaroon; absolutely delicious!

Simply Protein Chips

I love these! They are super satisfying, crunchy and delicious. Every bag has 140 calories, 15 grams of protein and only 2 grams of sugar. They come in 2 flavours: Spicy Chili Kick and Savoury Herb and Garlic. I personally preferred the Spicy Chili kind. They had a bit of a spicy kick as well as a bit of a sweet note. Although, the herb flavour was very good too, especially if you like a little garlic. Oh, and did I mention they are made with pea protein?? So, if you have soy or dairy allergies, but want a good protein snack, dig in :)

I would be happy to answer any other questions you have about Simply products, or you can always contact the company directly.

Happy Snacking :)

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

How Did You Find Me?

Good morning!

I have seen a number of my favourite bloggers write posts like this, so I thought I would give it a try. Now that my blog is getting a little more traffic, people are starting to find it in interesting ways. Here are some of the more eccentric search terms that have led people to me.

happy sausage... Given the fact that I don't eat meat, I am guessing this came from the fact that my childhood nickname given to me by my parents was Sausage. Yes, it is not a conventional nickname for a little girl, but I was not a normal little girl.

healthy delicious food... Well, this is my favourite thing ever, so I am both happy and unsurprised that people have found me this way. I love my healthy delicious food!

adam levine sexy lying down... I 100% agree. Whoever typed this into a search bar clearly has good taste. Yes, Adam Levine is sexy lying down... and standing up... and sitting in a chair... and gazing into my eyes... I'll stop now.

mimm porno... I suppose that Marvelous in my Monday posts include a good amount of porno of the food nature. I am not sure why someone would type that phrase, but I am not here to judge...

indian bridal long fake hair... Seeing as I am neither Indian, a bride nor do I have long, fake hair, this is a bit confusing. I have been to India, but as far as I know that doesn't automatically make me a bride...that I know of...

eddie redmayne hot... Yes, yes he is. I am really not surprised by this one since I have gushed about Eddie's sex appeal numerous times on my blog. The accent, the bone structure, the freckles!

keep studying... Are you telling me to do this? Is that an order?? The fact that I am blogging right now is a clear indicator that I am not studying at the moment, although I probably should be...

best white girl booty... I am just going to take this as a compliment. I have blogged before about how I have a "white girl bum", which is slowly becoming a little more shapely thanks to more food and lots of squats. I have never considered myself to have the "best booty", but if this the way that someone found me, I am not going to argue with Google :)

eating methi seeds after eating sweets... Methi is the Hindi word for fenugreek, as I learned in India. I'm not sure why somebody found my blog this way, but I guess eating fenugreek would be a good way to balance out the gargantuan amount of sugar in Indian sweets.

white girls big butts... Another butt find!! I think the first one is a little more accurate. I have a nice booty, but I wouldn't call it a big booty...yet.

protein bars that taste good... I could name a few of these! Quest Bars, PureFit Bars and of course there are more out there (including a review that will be coming out tomorrow!).

can you melt a quest bar... You absolutely can! It just takes them to a whole other level!

david's tea tea buys blog... First of all, who writes a sentence like that? Secondly, is David's Tea buying blogs now? Regardless, how did this lead someone to me?

girls with huge butts... So, it has evolved from "best white girl booty" to "big butts" to "huge butts". I'm not sure if this is a prediction for my bum's future, but I can tell you right now that my little pancake of a rear end does not fit into the "huge" or even "big" category. I guess one can only dare to dream...

quest bar gross... I beg your pardon?!? I have never said these words on my blog and I certainly do not agree! I'm a huge Quest fan. In fact, I am craving a Banana Nut Muffin bar right now...

It's amazing how mentioning something offhand once on your blog can lead someone to find it by accident. This could actually be a fun exercise to see how crazy my search terms can get...

Boobies, fanny, flying monkey, snaggletooth, twinkie, testicles, Nicki Minaj, facelift, leg hair, Obama, emu!

Let's see how they find me now :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Things I'm Loving Lately

Thanks everyone for your helpful tips on yesterday's post. I think I will hold off on trying to make nut butter again for a little while, although I have to say that I have been enjoying my Fail Fudge immensely! Here are just a few other things that I have been enjoying lately.

Frank's Red Hot Thick:

I have always been a big fan of Frank's, but I had only ever tried the regular hot sauce. Well, this stuff blew my mind. It's like a cross between hot sauce and ketchup and it's delightful. I haven't tried it on eggs yet, but that will be my next mission.

Robyn Dell'Unto:

On Tuesday, I was going to go out with one of my best friends and he said that there was "some free show" at a local bar where he was going to meet some other friends of his. Well, I looked it up and found out that it was actually Robyn Dell'Unto, one of my favourite singers!! She is very successful, and I don't know how the show slid under the radar like it did, but it was almost completely unadvertised and nobody seemed to know about it! I managed to get some other friends out last minute and it was one of the best performances I've seen in a long time.

If you're not familiar with this girl, you need to be!!

Oh, and did I mention that she's adorable and hilarious and I have a huge girl crush on her? Oh yeah, and she "liked" my photo on instagram!! (Social media life complete)


Whenever I come home, my parents use it as an excuse to go to our favourite sushi restaurant and I can hardly complain. This place has the best quality sushi I have ever eaten!

Also, since we're regulars, the sushi chefs like to experiment and bring us free dishes that aren't on the menu.

Salads with everything under the sun:

I have been making gigantic salads every day since I've been home. My parents have so much good stuff to throw on them, I just can't resist! I've been topping them with sprouts, dressings, tapenades, relishes, hummus, feta cheese, fresh veggies and anything I can find that suits my fancy :)

I even threw some leftover sashimi from the aforementioned sushi dinner onto one of them.


A bit too much time off + Netflix = This ^^

I never watched this show when it first came out, but in the past few weeks, I have become completely addicted because it's amazing! I also have a huge crush on Abed, so that may play a role in it.

PB and Co. White Chocolate Wonderful:

I feel kind of bad because this was one of the Christmas gifts I got for my dad and I have been attacking it in the past few days. It's just so good! To be honest, I really prefer regular peanut butter to the sweet stuff, but I can't resist this stuff sometimes. It really is heavenly.

Leisurely breakfasts:

My morning routine usually consists of getting up, working out, showering and getting a head start on whatever I need to tackle for that day. However, for the past few days I have been resting more, eating whatever I like for breakfast whenever I want and relaxing all day.

Lately, my leisurely breakfasts have been full of tea and Greek yogurt and fruit with nut butter on top. 

It makes me happy :)

Good bread:

One of my biggest weaknesses in terms of food is fresh, hearty, seedy bread cut straight from the loaf. My dad bought some kind of spelt, sourdough, delicious bread recently and I have been enjoying it for days. Bread and I have always had a love-hate relationship; partly because it used to be a fear food and partly because regular, North American, supermarket bread doesn't really appeal to me. However, when it's bread this good, it is always greeted with love :)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Anything you love lately?

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Fail, Fail, Win?

First off, thanks for all of the helpful tips on yesterday's post. I am not going to weigh myself right now.  I am really going to do a lot of work on my body image, and in the future I may change my mind and I may not. For now, I'm pretty cool with not knowing. I always get a little antsy when I have to fill out a form and give my weight, but I'm just going to write down the last number I saw and they can deal with it.


As I said yesterday, I am at my parents' house for a couple of days and it had been kind of fun to look through their cupboards and get inspiration for cooking and baking with all of their random ingredients. Well, when my dad said he had been eating a lot of pumpkin seeds lately to get more zinc, I knew what my project would be. After seeing a hundred bloggers making their own nut butter, I was going to make my own pumpkin seed butter!! At least, that was the theory...

My dad lightly roasted a bunch of seeds and I snagged 2 cups to make my the glorious creation that was materializing in my head. I started by blending them in a food processor and adding a little bit of maple syrup, vanilla extract and cinnamon.

Now, is it just me or when other bloggers make this stuff, does it not just turn into butter before their eyes?? No matter how long I left it in the food processor, it was like green dust. Luckily, my mum has some deliciously expensive pumpkin seed oil, so I added it in a tablespoon at a time to get a more "buttery" consistency. Well, the first 2 tablespoons of oil did nothing, but then I swear this stuff went from dust to cement in about 2 seconds.

I mean, you couldn't spread it, you could barely scoop it. I tried to eat a bit, and it tasted good, but it was like taffy and got stuck in my teeth. That is not how seed/nut butter is supposed to be!! Not to mention that the oil was now separating out and the ball of glue was just sitting in a puddle of it.


I knew that I couldn't let such expensive, high-quality ingredients go to waste, so I started brainstorming. My dad suggested sweetening it up a little and making some form of pumpkin halwa. I added a little more maple syrup and a touch of coconut sugar and decided to bake it in a pan to make a makeshift pumpkin brittle.

Well, that failed too. It was still too squishy and oily to resemble anything edible.

However, I quickly remembered my nut butter cookies, which reached the perfect chewy consistency after being frozen. Yes, inspiration struck and I made chewy pumpkin seed fudge! It actually tastes really good too. I love the taste of pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil, and the maple and cinnamon flavours worked beautifully. 

Looks disgusting, tastes pretty good.

The colour is scary, because the oil is so dark, but you can bet that this is the most nutrition-packed fudge you will ever meet. Please don't asked me to recall the "recipe". This is a mishap that can never be recreated.

I also took the liberty of looking up some nutrition facts about pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil. They are:

- High in fibre
- Excellent source of B-complex vitamins
- Good for reducing bad cholesterol (LDL)
- Contain high levels of essential minerals (copper, manganese, zinc, calcium, etc.)
- High in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), like oleic acid
- Source of tryptophan - converted to serotonin (the feel-good chemical)
- Source of glutamate - required to synthesize certain anti-stress neurochemicals
- May prevent hair loss, reduce symptoms of arthritis and lower risk of ovarian and prostate cancers

See? You can have delicious, creepy, green fudge that also has tons of health-giving properties!

How's that for turning a fail into a... fail... into a not-so-fail? Eh? EH??

Have you ever made nut or seed butter before? Seriously, what's your secret??

How would you have handled my fail?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Great Weight Debate

I wanted to talk to you guys about something that has been on my mind lately, and no, it is not my fabulous rhyming ability ;)

So, I am at my parents' house for a few days since I have a bit of time off of school. I have always had mixed emotions about being home. Seeing my family, good. Not much to do, frustrating. Fridge and pantry full of free food; cheap student says "Yay!", ED brain say "Oh hell no!" As I have been changing the way I look at food, exercise and life, these views have been shifting constantly. However, there is one thing about home that always seems to be there, the bathroom scale.

I don't have a scale at my own place and although I have thought numerous times about getting one, I have always used my better judgement and decided against it, knowing how easy it is to fall into a pattern of hourly weigh-ins.

The last time I weighed myself, I saw triple digits for the first time in a long time and freaked out. With time, I gradually accepted this and realized that, in most cases, a healthy woman in her 20s should not be weighing in the double digits and that I was really not healthy when I did.

However, it has been over 2 months since that time and I have not stepped on a scale since. In that time, my pants have gotten tighter, my shirts fit a little more snugly and I know for a fact that that number will be higher and I don't know by how much.

I know what you are all thinking. "It is just a number, it does not define who you are or how healthy your body is!" Intuitively, I know all of these things, but when you define yourself by a number for so many years, it can be hard to break free from that.

I want nothing more than to just accept whatever number I am. I know that I have gotten a hell of a lot stronger in the past few months and my muscle mass alone will add to that number. Not to mention that I am actually happy with a lot of the changes I have been seeing in my body lately. My skin is finally clear, my hair is getting thicker and I think that for the first time in my life I have a legit "badonk". However, I know from experience that stepping onto a scale has the power to lead me down an obsessive path that I do not want to follow ever again.

My dilemma is this: while I am at home with access to the scale, do I rip off the band-aid and start getting comfortable with the number that doesn't matter, or do I ignore the issue completely. I am worried that the longer I wait to see what I weigh (or am weighed by my doctor, etc), the more drastic the change will be and the more I will freak out, potentially leading me to rekindle some old habits. I don't think it is bad to know what you weigh, I think it is bad to be unhappy with that number when it does not define you.

On a side note, I did make a small stride in body acceptance yesterday and it felt wonderful. I hadn't been to hot yoga in over a month because I was nervous about being in a room full of mirrors in tight shorts...blah, blah, blah. Well, I finally got the balls to go to a class yesterday and I felt so much better! It was actually a fairly crowded class and I was at the back so I barely even saw myself in the mirror, but I felt like I looked amazing and the stretch and sweat was very restorative. I think that little things like this are helping me to be happier with my current weight the strength it has given me.

Ultimately, the length of time since my last weigh-in doesn't matter as much as my mindset at the time that I decide to do it. The more comfortable and happy I am with my body, the less that number will actually phase me in the end. The fact is, I don't really want to know what my weight is all the time, but I want to not know because I don't care, not because I am afraid of it. Right now, it is the fear that is holding me back. To weigh or not to weigh? That is the question.

Thanks for reading :)

What is your policy on weighing in?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Xyla Review and Clean Cookie Recipe

Hey Friends!

I'm back! This won't be a traditional WIAW post. I have taken virtually no foodie pics in the last week or so and since I have been getting ready to go to my parents' house for a few days, I didn't want to go grocery shopping. The problem was, I underestimated my ability to clean out the fridge and this is what it looked like when I still had 24 hours to survive in my house.

It was a pretty dire situation. I even had to go to the campus cafeteria for lunch yesterday because I didn't have much more than a can of tuna and a bottle of ketchup.

Don't even ask me what's in here, I just hit the salad bar and went nuts (it was right after the gym and I was hungry). There are tons of good vegetables in there though, so it can count as my "Love Your Veggies" pic :)

So instead of the usual WIAW stuff, I will show you something that I have been eating a lot of lately, share the recipe and review one of the ingredients.

I have been shoving many of these down my gullet lately thanks to the lack of real food in my house. No shame ;)

The secret ingredient? Xylitol!

I was recently contacted to review some products by Xyla, a company that makes xylitol-based sweeteners and candies. Xylitol is a plant-derived natural sweetener that has fewer calories and carbs than refined sugar, doesn't cause tooth decay and is suitable for diabetics. It is a sugar alcohol, so it doesn't work well with everyone's digestion, but I personally prefer it to most alternative sweeteners.

It doesn't have the harsh aftertaste that some stevia extracts do and it can be used in place of sugar in almost anything. You can learn more about xylitol here.

I was lucky to try a few different xylitol products, including:

Lemon Lime Candies:

These were sweet, zesty and so good! I'm not usually a big lemon fan in desserts, but I do like lemon candies. The only problem, they are quite addictive...

I also love the inspirational quotes they have on the lid of every box!

Watermelon Candies:

These were great too, although not quite as good as the lemon lime kind. They were really tangy and almost tasted like SweeTarts. However, it is important to remember that just because they have no added sugar, does not mean it is okay to eat half a box in one sitting. I'll remember that for next time...

Cocoa Mints:

So true!

These little guys were a little softer than the other two candies, which were more like hard candies. The chocolate flavour really came through and I enjoyed them. I have to say that I did not taste the mint. Don't worry, I still managed to eat an embarrassing amount of these in a short amount of time.

Cinnamon Chewing Gum:

This was the only product I was a little disappointed with. I love cinnamon and the flavour is great, but it only lasts about 15 seconds. Gum is a bit of a trade-off. This stuff is much better for your teeth than sugar gum and it is healthier than the aspartame-laden gum you find in most stores, but I would almost rather chew the occasional piece of delicious artificial gum that won't lose its flavour and turn to stone in my mouth after 10 chews...

Finally, we get to my baking experiment!

I had been wanting to experiment with some cookies for a long time and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Their granulated xylitol has a great taste and can be used in baking in place of sugar. It is also great mixed with cinnamon and sprinkled on top of... well, anything! 

Anyway, I managed to finish off a jar of almond butter, try out a product and test a recipe all in one go!

Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
(These cookies are dairy-free, gluten-free, mostly clean, fairly low carb and so decadent-tasting!)

(Makes about 3 dozen cookies)

1 cup nut butter 
3/4 cup Xyla
1/4 cup egg whites
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 dark chocolate chips
Pinch of salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Mix together all ingredient, stirring in chocolate chips last
3. Drop by the teaspoonful onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

4. Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until cookies have browned slightly

5. Let cool fully before eating (you may need to leave them on the baking sheet for a while, as they fall apart easily)

I love a good cookieporn close-up :)

These turned out beautifully! I used smooth almond butter, but I have made a version of these with crunchy peanut butter before and they were just as delicious. Any nut butter would work well. Also, even though I demonstrated these with xylitol, you could just as easily use brown sugar or a baking substitute. I would be happy to hear of other suggestions for sweeteners too if someone wants to play with the recipe!

Just a last tip, these are quite soft and have the tendency to fall apart. My fix? I froze them and they turned to the perfect chewy consistency to eat straight out of the freezer! I actually just put them right into the freezer on the baking sheets once they had cooled down and then removed them once they were frozen and stuck them into a container. 

Now I have perfect, chewy, decadent treats waiting for me in the freezer that melt into soft almond-buttery goodness as soon as they start to defrost.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Have you ever tried baking with Xylitol?

Do you have any suggestions or modifications to put a new twist on my cookies?

Monday, 18 February 2013

Back At It!

Here I am! I'm back!

I had an insanely stressful couple of weeks. I have had school obligations, plus several emotional roller coasters to ride. I will spare you the details, but it has been a little rough.

Anyway, I just finished the last assignment I needed to hand in before the reading week break and does it ever feel good! I have missed posting, as well as reading everyone else's blogs. This has been a very positive outlet for me in the past few months, so when I don't have time for it, it takes a bit of a toll on me. Starting today, I will be posting regularly again as well as commenting on other blogs.

To be honest, I have taken very few pictures in the last week or two, so I actually don't have much to give you today. I will show you a few little tidbits anyway, as well as a teaser for tomorrow's post.

I made up little baggies of Valentine candy for all of my roommates [and ate the rest]. There has been some tension in my house lately (why did I think that living with 6 other women would present no problems?), so I thought it would be nice to put together something for all of them, including personalized, funny V-Day cards.

It probably comes as no surprise that my favourite V-Day candy is also my favourite Christmas candy and my favourite Halloween candy, only in a different colour. I had quite a few handfuls of these.

I have consumed an embarrassing amount of chocolate in the past few days. I justified it because it was for a blog review, but seriously, it was grotesque. Review coming soon though! 

I found this halfway through my note paper stack. It's from my best friend. I have no idea how long ago she left it, but it is always nice to know that you are loved.

This is my friend's CD that his band recently released. It is called Eliak and the Dream and their band is called Ptarmigan. I would recommend listening to a few of their tracks online. My friend has a beautiful voice and his music helped me to get through a pretty rough week. The original artwork on the cover is incredible too.

This is a sneak peek at a little baking experiment that I was very happy with. I have had far too many (read: not enough) of these babies already. I will be posting the recipe tomorrow, as well as a review of one of the key ingredients. You do not want to miss it :)

That's all for today!