January Favorites

by fitforthesoul in


{Food Love}

    • Dessert greek yogurt

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Little did I know that after having had Selah my sweet tooth would become so demanding, and although I’ve had lots my fair share of sweets and pastries, I’ve also been making it a point so practice more self control.  Thus, I end up having these tubs of greek yogurt once in a while late in the afternoon.  Dannon Oikos offers some scrumptious dessert yogurts like this lemon meringue version!

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If I feel like I need to give my late afternoon snack/dessert a bit more oomph then I opt for this combination:  key lime Chobani with banana, almond butter, and the star of the show….crumbled shortbread cookie.  Wow you guys, just wow….I have no words for this one.

  • Korean BBQ

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I’ve been missing Korean BBQ like crazy ever since we celebrated Greg’s birthday!  Now, I’m not quite sure if it’s the occasion that I miss or the finger lickin’ pork belly with extra bold kimchi that I miss, but Honey Pig makes some mean Korean BBQ and I don’t know how much longer I can hold off.  Hah!

  • Dessert

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Okay so back to dessert.  If you haven’t tried dulce de leche, which is a rich caramel like spread (much much better than caramel, mind you!) originating from South America, I highly suggest you indulge in some if you get the chance.  Sure, it’s way too indulgent especially if you like to take care of your health, but a little here and there won’t make a drastic difference.

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This month I got to try Designer Whey’s gourmet chocolate protein powder.  I loved the taste because it didn’t seem “artificial” or chalky, and as you all know my favorite way of consuming this stuff is in the form of “protein pancakes” and smoothies, much like many of you.  However, the one thing I wasn’t excited about was the price.  I feel like it’s a bit too high for the amount that you get, but for some people that might not be such a big deal.

{Outfit Love}

  • Target sales

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I probably say this way too often and I’m sure your poor little eyes are tired of reading this following statement.  But….I LOVE GOOD SALES!

While I was running some errands at Target the other day I ran into the clothing section, and I do have a question about that, by the way.  Why do they always place it right at the very front of the store?  Oh yeah, probably for people like me, hahaha.  Anyway, I went straight for the clearance rack and found these two gems for roughly $25.  The dress is extremely comfy and hugs all the right places.  I never feel comfortable in revealing clothing and this one is perfect for dressing up and down depending on the occasion.  I actually wore it for Sharon’s 60th birthday and felt comfortable knowing that nothing would “show” whenever I would pick Selah up.  Open-mouthed smile

The HAPPY sequined shirt is not my typical style, but I figured that spicing things up wouldn’t hurt one bit—especially when it only cost $9.

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This pair of workout tights is the best thing I’ve come across next to Lululemon so far.  It is actually from the Champion brand sold at Target and does a great job at wicking off sweat and keeping everything in place.  You know, it hugs you just right so it doesn’t dig into your hips?  Hehe.  But what I love more about it is that it doesn’t cost more than $20 when it’s on sale, and you’re probably wondering “what’s the catch?”.  Well, I don’t think there is one!

{Best Moments}

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We both feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to get away!  Our time at the Playa del Rey Bed & Breakfast was so relaxing because it’s only about 40 minutes away from us, but yet the city itself made it seem like we were out in another state.  We are learning that taking a deep breath and actually letting ourselves enjoy the sweet things in life is a good thing.  There are times when we may feel guilt ridden for “taking time off” or resting, but that’s a lie this fast paced culture has ingrained in us.  On the contrary, I think God wants us to have balance in life and let ourselves receive those little nuggets of rest.

What are some of your favorites in the month of January?

Do you sometimes feel guilty for letting yourself rest from the busyness of life?  If so, do you work more or actually listen to the voice that tells you to rest?

Love,

Ellie <33


Think out Loud Thursday {Christmas 2013}

by fitforthesoul in


Thinking-Out-Loud

Amanda is definitely one of those girls whom I want to support in everything they do, and I’ve been thinking of joining her Thinking out Loud link-up for quite some time now!  Excuse me if mine is kind of lackluster compared to her awesome post today, but this is my first one after all, right? Open-mouthed smile

1.  Well my friends, I truly hope that at least you had a great Christmas…because this girl probably had one of the worst in her life yet.  I mean, of course I know the true significance of it is what matters ultimately, but it would be a lot more enjoyable when you don’t have to be bedridden all day long.  I will forewarn you that this story will be a bit on the TMI side, but when you become a mom hardly anything fazes you, haha!  So here we go.  On Christmas Eve morning I woke up with an extreme headache followed by weakened muscles, and to top it off, with the most excruciating pain in my right breast.  Ohhhh boy.  By the time I got out of bed I knew immediately what it was--Mastitis.  I read up on the symptoms and sure enough as the day progressed, it was confirmed that I caught the infection and needed to see the doc.  Yesterday I felt even worse so I slept all day long with only cold oats for breakfast and a green smoothie mid-day.  Thankfully I didn’t have an appetite so I wasn’t craving anything all day.

2.  The upside of this sickness was that I felt so loved by my parents. After work (yep, they have to work on Christmas)  they decided to bring over some burgers for me and Greg.  It’s little actions of love that warm my heart!  Also, Greg watched Selah all day and I give him an award for being the best daddy ever.  They both did so well and even got a nice little walk at the park!

3.  Greg and I were planning on opening all of our gifts under when his parents get here, but since we wanted to join in the Christmas spirit we decided to open the gifts we got for each other.  And I’m so glad we did!  Oh my goodness you guys, I am beyond excited to use this cast-iron tea pot from Teavana!  I was shocked when I opened the pretty bag (even their bag is pretty and expensive looking, oyyy) because as amazing as Teavana’s products are, they’re not something I splurge on very often.

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Isn’t it gorgeous?!  Haha, I’m sorry for my irritating level of glee.  I’m just excited to drink out of this thing for days on end…and surprisingly Greg got their Monkey Picked Oolong tea (cute name!) without even knowing that Oolong is my favorite tea next to Yerba Mate and green tea.  Back in the day I used to drink at least 4 cups a day, which I’m not sure if it’s a wise thing to do.  And speaking of wise and healthy—I’ve heard and read that cast iron is extremely good for cooking because of the minerals it collects.  I have a feeling that brewing the Oolong in it will help my troublesome tummy whenever it throws a fit.

4.  You know that you’re in a hurry when your pancakes turn out lopsided due to lack of measuring your ingredients.

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This morning I was feeling more like myself so I made protein pancakes with Designer Whey protein powder, which by the way, is surprisingly really good.  As soon as I started mixing up the batter I heard Selah “quacking” from her bedroom, so I threw in all the ingredients and voila!  This beautiful scary looking batch came out.  But hey, at least it tasted good and filled me up, haha.

5.  Whenever Selah wakes up she makes these noises that sound like quacks, and Greg and I crack up every time we hear them.  Then she coos and says sweet little somethings as she eats her feet and slides around her crib.  I tell ya, it is a super adorable sight!

6.  I made an appointment for the doctor today and I’m praying that everything turns out okay!  I’m hoping that the mastitis hasn’t progressed too much because I do feel a lot better, and I also hope I can still breastfeed without any complications.

Have a beautiful day and take care of your bodies during this busy season!

What are some positives in your life lately? 

Is Christmas usually a great time for you and your family?

-I used to not care for it aside from its meaning because we didn’t celebrate it together, but now I look forward to it and don’t feel indifferent.

Have you tried cooking with cast iron?  What’s your experience with it?

-I know that you’re supposed to wash it a lot….it’s still a mystery to me.

Love,

Ellie <33


Under the Influence

by fitforthesoul in


Hi guys!  Okay so before your mind wanders off into something crude and offensive, let me make that clear. Under the Influence of BLOGGING, that is!  Open-mouthed smile

Out of the bajillion things that run across my mind daily, I often think about how much impact blogging has on our lives.  Sometimes I even start to wonder, “Does my blog make any kind of impact whatsoever?  Whether it be to bring a smile to someone’s face, motivate you to seek truth in the One who is truth Himself, help you get in shape with some of my workouts, or clean up your diet just a bit more so that you can live a wholesome lifestyle? 

I sure hope that I’m at least contributing something to this worldwide thing called the BLOGOSPHERE!

And although I often doubt myself in that very subject matter, I can confidently attest to the fact that other blogs have certainly influenced me in one way or another, because if it weren’t for Angela’s amazing photos that beckoned me with their ooey-gooey looking treats, then I probably wouldn’t be here where I am now…talking to YOU GUYS!

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It’s amazing how much influence a simple picture can have on me!  This morning while I was feeding Selah and scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came upon Katie’s oatmeal pancake and for some strange reason, it just sounded heavenly and I immediately knew what I’d be having for breakfast!

It’s basically dry oats with baking powder, Stevia, and a whole egg (I altered the recipe and nixed the two egg whites).

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Whenever I see Amanda’s huge collection of greek yogurt I wonder why in the world I don’t buy more of it!  Because quite truthfully, between Greg and myself, we finish off one tub of yogurt in less than a week.  And that’s when we’re being very conservative about the stuff.  So what have I been doing lately?  I’ve been doing most of my grocery shopping at Target and loading up on greek yogurt because it not only saves some money, but it also allows me to have a great afternoon snack.  Amanda, thank you for practically redirecting my whole shopping experience, haha.

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And even though I’ve never ever been a picky eater, unless you count eating healthy 80% of the time as being picky, seeing other bloggers share about the wide array of beautiful and unique food out there helps me to venture out more—take this amazing, succulent Tuna tartare dish, for example.  Oh my.  I’m drooling looking at that picture.

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I’ve also come to love things that were completely new to me when I first starting reading blogs.  Never in my life had I tried protein powder and good post-workout bars, but once I fell for them I fell hard.  My favorites include Quest Bars, Clif Mojo Bars, Pure Bars, Raw Protein from Garden of Life, and GNC’s Wheybolic powder.

So there you have it!  These are just a few of the bajillion different ways that blogging has influenced how I eat on a daily basis.  Oh, and….how I think like a psycho because I take lots of pictures of my food?

Let me quickly share the story behind that last part.  My friend Esta was telling us the other day that there’s this study that shows how people who take pictures of the food they actually prepare are mentally ill.  Ummmmm that’s….nice.  Hah! Not sure what to think of that one, but I promise you I’m tooooootally normal.  Winking smile

In what ways has blogging/blog reading influenced you? 

-I have to admit that there are times when I compare myself and think I’m not eating or working out like I’m supposed to, but then thankfully I cancel out those thoughts and realize that whatever works for me is what’s best for me. I remember that our bodies ultimately response a little differently to certain foods and workouts.

Did it help you for the better or for the worse?

-I would say that it helped me for the better because it’s definitely helped me find things I’m passionate about and allowed me to be more open with serious things that may be on my heart.  But like with anything, I have those days when I compare and as soon as I start doing that I try to take my thoughts captive. Smile

Love,

Ellie <33


Food Trends that Actually Work

by fitforthesoul in


I think it’s pretty obvious that most things in life run on trends, and most of them happen in cycles throughout different generations.  Take fashion for example. But instead of focusing on fashion trends (which would be a fun topic)  I’d like to focus on health food trends that work for ME.  I first started reading blogs around the winter of 2010 and I’ve learned a huge amount of information on what’s out there in terms of health-related things.  I’m not  sure if I was a bit late to the whole topic regarding health foods, but it seems like certain foods have gained overnight popularity from the masses thanks to social media…and it seems like they are here to stay for a good while!

Ever since the day I immersed myself in the food and fitness blogosphere, I’ve come to try a massive my fair share of these things and I can honestly say that they work for me.  I’ve come to love them so much that I include them in my everyday life as evidenced below! Open-mouthed smile

1.  Chia seeds

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When I first saw them on Angela’s site and noticed how much she used them in her cooking, I decided that I should give them a try.  After all, the health benefits that experts attribute to chia seeds seemed to outweigh the strange “ant-looking” appearance they sport.  When I finally tried them in oatmeal, smoothies, and yogurt, I was immediately sold on the rave reviews!  I am one of those people who adore “interesting” food textures, so the way that it thickens everything up is one of my main reasons for consuming it on a daily basis.  Not only that, but the extra fiber definitely helps me with regularity. (TMI, I’m sorry!)

2.  Overnight oats

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Just before I discovered the amazingnes that overnight oats are, I used to eat heavy food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Breakfast would normally consist of leftover spaghetti, Korean Bulgogi that my mom cooked early in the morning, kimchi stew with a big bowl of rice….You get the idea.  Needless to say, this way of eating wasn’t necessarily unhealthy nor detrimental to my health, but it definitely didn’t help me in staying awake throughout the day!  I always felt sluggish and tired on my way to school and I didn’t want to feel like that anymore.

So once again, I saw the wonders that oatmeal can do for the body when I took my first spoonful of overnight oats.  In my opinion it is such a great breakfast choice—it is light but hearty enough to help me tackle the day ahead of me.

And let’s not forget that oatmeal is highly recommended for breastfeeding women as it is known to keep up the milk supply. Smile

3.  Nut & seed butter

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I used to be one of those people who truly truly disliked peanut butter.  Perhaps it’s the fact that Argentineans aren’t necessarily big on nut butters…Or maybe it’s because my taste buds have evolved quite a bit as I got older, but after trying it on top of my oats, pancakes, and every other food that I came across, I got instantly hooked!

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It would be a huge understatement to say that I just like nut/seed butters because I have a whole stash in my fridge.  Also, I think we’ve come a long way in our foodie creativity and I appreciate the fact that there are at least 100 different versions of the stuff!

Nut/seed butters make for delicious toppings, and the more “dessert-y” kinds satisfy my sweet tooth for the time being (not that I still don’t get my share of cupcakes and pastries, hehe).  They also provide a good amount of protein with every snack I eat which is a huge plus.  Even though the amount of protein isn’t way up there, the truth is, our bodies don’t actually need as much protein as many fitness enthusiasts claim.  Unless you are at the level of being a top notch athlete you are probably getting enough protein in most of your meals.

4.  Alternative/vegan milk

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Despite my undying love of cow’s milk, I am beyond grateful I have the privilege to buy an alternative to that.  Not only is it fun to try different products and brands out there, but it’s also great for when I’m in the mood to make vegan food.  I have to admit that it is pretty nice to lower the calories in a dish if it rends the same results.  I mean—hey—if you aren’t obsessing over the numbers and have the means to lower your calorie intake without sacrificing the taste, then I say go for it!

But obviously some dishes need to be made with cow’s milk!  Trust me, I’ve had way too many kitchen fails so I know about this all too well. Smile with tongue out

Another reason why I love almond milk???  Simply because I want to balance my dairy intake if I can help it.  Keep reading on to the next point if you don’t know what I mean.

5.  Greek yogurt

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I probably consume way too much greek yogurt on a daily basis, hence my last point on #4.

It’s true, guys!  All the rave reviews on greek yogurt are pretty spot on in my honest opinion.  Greek yogurt provides an easy way to eat a hearty snack in the middle of the day, especially when it’s drowned in delicious toppings like fruit, nut butter, and granola.  Mmmmmmm.

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I personally feel like it fills me up quite well, and it keeps my hunger at bay until the next meal without the effects of feeling sluggish and stuffed to the brim.

6.  Avocado & healthy fats

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The first time I heard about healthy fats I scoffed at the idea of there being an unhealthy type of fat since I thought they were all equal to each other.  As you can see that thought process has been dominated by my love for avocados.  I even include them in desserts like this cake! They not only taste amazingly rich and wholesome, but I promise you it keeps my hair super strong!  I never had thin hair to begin with, but I’ve been noticing a slight difference in the health and shine of my hair.  This is particularly a big deal for the post-partum mom, because all the changes mom goes through can take a toll on her overall health—including dry and brittle hair.

I could go on and on about this stuff, but these are the main ones that come to mind!

Have a beautiful day and talk to you soon!

What food trends have worked for you?  And which ones do you think are just hype?

Love,

Ellie <33


Creamy Caramelized Apple Dip

by fitforthesoul in ,


Inspiration. Good old inspiration can come from anywhere and at the most unexpected times.  Despite the dazed and confused weather here in LA, I can slowly but surely see the signs of fall coming in.

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That cool and fragrant fall breeze is finally starting to blow as the sun begins to set, and different people from all over begin to show a demeanor that’s slightly warmer than usual even…yay!

Grocery stores have finally stocked up on squash-like veggies, sweet potatoes, fresh and luscious apples, and—you get the point. Smile

For me this equals to more time in the kitchen than I’ve been used to for the past several months.  Something about this season makes me want to bake and make desserts forever and ever--for no apparent reason!  (Okay I admit, eating the baked goodies is definitely an incentive) And I just want to give away said goodies to as many people as I come across.

Lucky for me, we’ve been having more company lately since everyone wants to meet little Selah.  And that my friends, is a beautiful thing!  I love having company and feeding them random things I can find in the fridge because of my Korean ways of not being able to see anybody less than stuffed.  This coming week I’ll be having some friends over, and I’m more prepared than ever as I’ll be offering them decadent and finger lickin’ snacks.

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Like, they literally might have to lick their fingers because it will be a gooey messy party over here!

So as you can see, my taste buds and foodie brain have been working over-time due to all these bits of inspiration.  But I am me and…you know me….90% of the time I can’t help myself but make dessert slightly healthier than usual, especially if it means that I’m giving it to loved ones.  The secret ingredient to this fabulously creamy apple dip?

White beans.  Doh!

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Before you exit this page which I’m sure you weren’t contemplating anyway—hear me out!  Winking smile  The white beans that I’m using are Great Northern beans, which are super mild in flavor and texture.  Once it’s ground up nice and smooth, it is hardly detectable.  So have yourself a great day filled with foamy lattes and lots of joy, friends!

Creamy Caramelized Apple Dip

Makes approximately 3 1/2-4 Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 C chopped apple (about 1/2” cubes)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 C canned Great Nothern beans, rinsed
  • 1 C Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 1/2 C brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Heat the oil on a skillet on medium heat.  Cook the apple pieces until they’re slightly caramelized, toss them every now and then.  Set aside and let it cool down.
  2. Grab your food processor and process the beans to a creamy consistency.  Scrape sides if needed throughout the process.
  3. Add the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon and process until everything is incorporated evenly.
  4. Add the apple pieces in the processor and pulse about 3-4 times to get the apple roughly chopped.  It doesn’t have to be smooth as you want tiny bits of apple in the creamy dip.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. Serve with pretzels, fruit, or cookies!

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I’m starting to think that this would pair up perfectly with Megan’s amazing looking Maple Shortbread Fries, or these Spelt Gingersnaps from long ago.  Whoa, right?!

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In my humble opinion, the cheesy flavor along with the apples and spices make this dip to die for.  It is not tooth achingly sweet which is always a plus in my [recipe] book!

Other fall desserts of possible interest:

Do you always feel ready in terms of providing food for your guests? 

What are your favorite things to serve your loved ones?

Love,

Ellie <33


A Review of Artisana's Products

by fitforthesoul in


Happy Saturday everyone! The other day I briefly mentioned that I had an upcoming post on Artisana's products. April 10-2013 (1 of 1)-155

So what do we have here?  Well, our kind of friends from Artisana have given me the honor to review their products and boy oh boy, was I excited when I received their sample package from the UPS guy! (I think it was UPS? That’s besides the point though).

You’ve probably seen these cute jars and little packets floating around the blog world.  They’re also offered in stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and perhaps even in regular grocery chains.  Just like many of you, I love to try out new food products that contain wholesome ingredients, especially if that means indulging in a new nut/seed butter, or its distant cousin called coconut butter. I've already fallen in love with Artisana’s coconut butter a very long time ago and have been buying it since then. However, I haven't delved into their other wonderful stuff up until recently and I’ll do my best to give you an honest review on these goodies! Smile

So let's take a crack at this, Shall we?

Out of all the ones that I sampled my favorites are Cacao Bliss, cashew butter, and almond butter in that very same order.

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The cacao bliss obviously speaks for itself!  I mean, the fact that it's coconut butter with scrumptious chocolate mixed in indicates that it's already a winner in my book!

In addition to the great blend of the two flavors, I loved the fact that when at room temperature the texture is ultra velvety and melty.  I think it makes the perfect oatmeal topping when it’s a cool morning in this fall weather.  And what I think would be even better is this blissful stuff drizzled on overnight oats, then let it sit for a minute or two so that it becomes a crunchy shell of coconutty goodness!  Oh man, my mouth waters just thinking about it.

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Next up is cashew butter…This one was so amazing and full of creamy sweetness, as cashews are already naturally sweet and easy to grind up.  I highly recommend their cashew butter because of its wonderful taste and ease of spread on soft bread.

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Now, the almond butter was delicious but I do have one little hang up about that one.  I loved its fresh nutty flavor and all, but since it’s ground up in its raw form, it has a very chunky texture.  And this brings me to my next point…I’m usually all about crunchy and chunky when it comes to foods like these, but the other butters like pecan and walnut have the perfect texture when it’s inside the packet.  On the contrary, when they come in these little jars they’re quite difficult to mix and thus, they make for an extremely chunky butter.

I’m sure some people would appreciate that over ultra creamy texture, but I like it to be somewhere in the middle—just a good amount of crunch goes a long way in my opinion.

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As for the Superfood variety, I honestly wasn’t a big fan of them.  Sad smile  I really tried to like them, and as you all know me I’m not exactly a picky eater so I was rather surprised.  Perhaps you’ll enjoy them more than I did, but overall I felt like they had a taste that’s slightly artificial and a strange (ocean-y?) smell to them.  I know we can’t all like everything we try, right?

So luckily, I loved the other products and would definitely recommend them to you guys!

My Eats

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Super voluminous and fluffy apple cinnamon oats, with some PB, greek yogurt, and cinnamon chips.

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I promise there are waffles underneath!

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This was today’s breakfast.  You can tell I love breakfast, can’t you?  I layered some chocolate protein overnight oats with greek yogurt, strawberries, and banana slices.  It was so good and I can’t wait to have it tomorrow, hehe.

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Lunch has been similar to this on most days.  I’ve been eating Korean seaweed soup everyday for lunch because it’s known to keep up milk supply.  Even though milk supply has never been an issue for me, lately it has decreased significantly due to some pills I’m taking.  Fortunately I always have the right amount for Selah when she nurses, but I don’t have extra milk to pump out for when we go out to crowded places.  You see, I don’t feel that comfortable breastfeeding when there are people running around everywhere.

So far oatmeal and seaweed have been good to me, and hopefully it will do the trick for the long haul! Open-mouthed smile

Have a blessed weekend and talk to you soon.

Do you prefer your nut butters to be chunky, crunchy, or creamy?  Do you have a unique way of eating it?

Do you actually NOT care for nut butters? 

Love,

Ellie <33