Natural Foods

Customize your own protein shake with True Nutrition

Customize your own protein shake with True Nutrition

I have tried just about every fad and exercise program there is. The past year I have (finally) settled into a food and exercise regimen that works for me and I stay motivated with it. It started by buying my Peloton bike. I was so intrigued at results I saw in friends and family who had one, we took the bait. It then led me to be inspired within their app to add strength training and join FB groups with other members. Then I was inspired to take my storage room and transform it into my home gym. That was when motivation kicked into overdrive. I had a ME space. It was a space I painted, decorated, collected items for and made into a cozy spot to do cycling, strength, yoga or anything else I choose to do for my health in MY (and husbands) room.

Of course after all the effort into exercise, I am naturally inspired to count calories and macros. I learned what foods were working for or against me by listing them in apps. Then I was watching videos to get back into intermittent fasting as I had tried it in the past and remember it being easy for me. I discovered some YouTube stars on this topic of healthy eating and watched all their videos. I was learning how to do IF, how to properly start and break fasts, how to read nutrition labels and how to shop smart and not be fooled by branding so I was truly buying the healthiest ingredients.

I add a routine everyday in my home gym and I eat between 11-7. Typically it is more like 11:15-6:30 or so and that’s even better. I learned that in order to lower my cortisol that is very high at the end of my fast I can add cinnamon to my morning coffee which is great because I prefer flavor in my coffee. There is something in cinnamon that raises insulin without high sugar/carb foods and that helps lower cortisol. Now I am entering my fast with a level best for meals.

I know that I should never break a fast with carbs/sugar especially after my cinnamon coffee so I break it with a pea protein shake with a nut milk (I use almond milk). Then 1 hour later I eat a balanced meal with more protein, veggies like eggs with veggies and a piece of toasted Ezekiel muffin or bread and butter or peanut butter. Later, I eat a good snack or on high intensity workout days have a True Nutrition Whey Protein shake. Then dinner is meat, veggies and a small starch. I love a treat after dinner some nights and will have Lilly’s chocolate or some other guilt-free treat. I also LOVE Nunbelievable cookies, these are so delicious.

So, why True Nutrition? It not only tastes great but the ingredients are clean and sweetened with stevia. I use this as my whey protein on heavy workout days when I want whey and they also have a pea protein option as well for meal replacements. True Nutrition allows me to customize my shake!

I can choose a size, then a flavor and as I choose flavors, a little box appears giving me all the ingredients and macros so I choose a flavor that fits my ingredient desires. Then I can add any boosts if I want or even mix flavors – like add vanilla with strawberry or mint chocolate with chocolate to make that mint subtle. There are over 30 flavors to choose from. Then choose your boost and there are about 12 to choose from such as BCAA’s, probiotic and more. Last you can choose a resealable pouch or jug for storage. This means you build exactly what you need!

You can even browse their pre-selected blends to make it quick and easy. It is very simple to build your mix and their website guides you from start to finish. Start building your powder today. I was sent True Nutrition’s Whey Protein shakes in French Vanilla and Chocolate Fudge Brownie (no additions/supplements added) in the EZ seal pouch. Visit True Nutrition and get started.

Food

Smoked Salmon Recipe using Wildwood Grilling Alder Grilling Planks

I was sent product from Wildwood Grilling for sampling

Smoked Salmon Recipe using Wildwood Grilling Alder Grilling Planks

I have been finding some great deals on wild salmon lately. I picked up this Alaskan Wild-caught Sockeye yesterday and began preparing it for today’s smoker when I got home with it. My smoked salmon recipe is very simple, but plan ahead because you need to start it the day prior to smoke day. In this recipe, I smoked my salmon on Alder Grilling Planks from Wildwood Grilling.

alder grill planks

Prepping salmon for the brine is simple. I check my fish to make sure it is deboned and remove any bones I find. You don’t have to de-bone but I prefer to. I make my dry brine. You just need 3 ingredients, plastic wrap, 2 long baking dishes and some weight.

The brine:

  • 1/2 Cup kosher salt
  • 1 Cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper


In a small bowl, combine salt, sugar and black pepper. Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface that is longer than the fillet. Spread 1/2 of the mixture on top of the plastic and lay the fillet skin side down on top of the cure. Top with the other half of the cure spreading it evenly over the top of the fillet. Fold up the edges of the plastic and wrap tightly.

Place the wrapped salmon fillet in the bottom of a flat, rectangle baking dish. Place another identical dish on top of the fillet. Place a couple of cans or something heavy inside the top pan to weigh it down making sure the weight is distributed evenly pressing the fish. Let it brine for 4-6 hours in the fridge.

After 4-6 hours in brine, rinse all brine off very well (the better you rinse the lest salty your finished recipe will be) and refrigerate overnight. For this you just need a sheet pan, wire rack and space in the fridge on a bottom shelf. After rinsing brine, pat very dry with paper towels, lay on rack and place that rack over a sheet pan. Place the pan in the fridge on a bottom shelf uncovered overnight so it develops a tacky film called a pellicle to form on the surface of the salmon that helps smoke adhere to the fish.

Once I was ready to smoke, I soaked the alder grilling planks in water for 15 minutes, weighing them down with mugs to get a full soak. As the planks soaked I preheated the smoker to 180 degrees and let the salmon sit out to get closer to room temp.

soaking grill planks

The smoke happened in about 4 hours at 180 degrees on an 80 degree day. Typical is 3-4 hours. Voila! These alder grilling planks made such a great addition to this smoke. It was my first time using planks of any kind and I will not smoke fish any other way now. I am real excited to smoke other foods on planks and have fun with it.

Wildwood Grilling offers grilling planks, chips, wraps, rubs and more. The alder plank left a subtle earthy and sweet taste. You can also choose from cedar, cherry, hickory, red oak, maple and the alder grilling planks. I also have cherry and want to smoke a shoulder or roast with it!

They have similar infused flavors for chips and wraps. The wraps are similar in that you soak, wrap and smoke or bake anything from meats, fish or veggies. The products are 100% pure and clean with no pesticides, herbicides or foreign matter and made with a food-safe process. They produce their own wood fiber and use 100% of it for no waste. They have many sustainable practices in place within the brand.

Wildwood Grilling

You can enjoy this salmon warm or cooled. You can keep it about 4-5 days in the fridge in an airtight container – a great recipe to make on a Sunday and cut, divide into meal prep dishes for the week.

Visit Wildwood Grilling if you decide that you want to use their grilling woods in your recipes! Also available via their Amazon store.

Food

Back to School and Stock the Staff Lounge for Teachers and Staff

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Back to School and Stock the Staff Lounge for Teachers and Staff

As we (finally) get back to a normal school year we will need to restock the kids backpacks and that may also include proper masks, water bottles form home and sanitizers. School lists may look a tad different and I don’t mind some added hygiene that we previously took for granted.

As we prepare to get the kids back to normal learning, our Teachers and staff are also heading to their home away from home where they previously worked from home, had shortened in-office hours or had to keep belongings close and away from others for sanitary reasons. Our Teachers leave home earlier than your student and stay in the classroom later as well. They are in that school building for a minimum of 2 mealtimes, lesson planning hours and reorganizing after a long day with the kids.

Teachers and staff use their staff lounge on their breaks as short-lived as some of those breaks are. They need to staff these lounges and their own snack drawers so typically they reach into their own pockets so they have some basics.

As you are out shopping, remember your Teachers and school staff. I am a staff myself at a local high school and I can surely tell you some great items needed for the lounge….

Stock the Staff Lounge

  • Coffee K-Cup Pods
  • Creamer
  • Sugars including healthier sweeteners like Stevia
  • Healthy snacks, like Nunbelievable Cookies (these are so good and not loaded with carbs or sugars)
  • Plastic food wrap
  • Foil
  • Paper coffee cups/lids
  • Paper plates, bowls
  • Utensils
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Seasoning salt
  • Napkins
  • Ziploc bags-all sizes
  • Stir sticks
  • Fresh fruit regularly
  • Protein powders that can be mixed with water
  • Soda/sparkling water cans

I want to also add that staff loves it when there are unique items added here and there. We love seeing brands that give back and that is why I suggested Nunbelievable cookies. Save 15% with code 15NUNB. For every baked good sold, Nunbelievable provides a meal to help feed someone in need. We notice those things and feel proud to have such brands available to us. Don’t forget to stock the staff lounge this year as your child heads back!

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The Bonfire Bluetooth Speaker gives you ambient lighting and quality sound

The Bonfire Bluetooth Speaker gives you ambient lighting and quality sound

The big project for our summer was renovating the backyard. In a space the dogs would tear up in grass and drag in mud and dirt, we had a patio poured. Then we got lucky and bought our cedar gazebo just before lumber prices skyrocketed. It took a bit of effort to build and erect, but once we finished it was time for furniture shop. I had a fire table and bought furniture. Since then I have been finding access pieces to make the space complete. My favorite addition is The Bonfire Bluetooth Speaker that gives me ambient lighting and quality sound.

I simply got a hook and found a spot to hang it. It is weather/water resistant so I could hang it anywhere around the gazebo. I like to keep it low enough so I can get to the controls and grab it for a charge. At full charge I can get 30 hours out of just the light. Using it as a light and speaker, I get about 7 hours. It is plenty if I am hosting a dinner or BBQ for outdoor music.

stock image

The flame ambiance is real nice, especially at night. It does a great job flickering to resemble flame. You can also choose a second mode to have it stay lit without flicker or have the light off and use just as a speaker. The +/- buttons control both sound and track selections. Each speaker comes with USB charging cable that can be used with any phone charger or USB charging unit.

The sound from this speaker is impressive. You can head to the Spice of Life website to learn more about The Bonfire Bluetooth Speaker as well as other products you will love. Also find this on Amazon.