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Category Archives for Nutrition

chocolate cookie dough bites

Truth bomb,  I have had a crazy sweet tooth! I could literally eat an entire gallon of ice cream in one sitting.  I am proud of my self I only purchased 4 boxes of girl scout cookies this year and half of them are still un-eaten and stored in my freezer for the year. 

Since I love my sweets so much,  I knew I needed to find a  way to swap some of the unhealthy stuff for healthier items that would satisfy my sweet tooth and not leave me feeling guilty afterwards and so came these AMAZING chocolate cookie dough bites! 

They take 2 seconds to whip up, you can form them into balls or leave them in a bowl like I did so I could literally just dig in with a spoon...anyone else use to do this with cookie dough?


  • 1 packet vegan chocolate Shakeology
  • 1 packet vegan vanilla Shakeology
  • 1/4 cup all natural peanut butter
  • Splash of unsweetened almond milk 
  • toss in some chocolate chips 


  • Combine all ingredients. Add almond milk until you reach your desired consistency
  • make in to balls or enjoy in your favorite bowl
  • Refrigerate leftovers
  • Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Lets talk food for a minute. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love food. One of my favorite recipes to cook is chicken tortilla soup. Now I actually have two different recipes for this, they don have the same ingredients, they dont’ have the same cooking techniques but they both taste amazing. Well at leas that is what my husband tells me.

The one I am going to share with you today I actually cook with the Instant pot. I got an Instant Pot for my birthday this past year. I know its a big deal right now to have one. I heard for a lot of busy families that they use it often and it saves them a lot of time. What I think they forgot to tell you before purchasing one, is that there is a lot of time spent on the instant pot warming up before it even starts the cooking time. Either way I still use and love mine. If you don’t have an instant pot, check this one out.

Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer

  • 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Cooker–Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Saute/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer & Warmer
  • Large, easy to use control panel with 14 built-in Smart Programs, Dual pressure, Automatic keep-warm and 3 temperatures for saute and slow cook
  • Delay cooking time up to 24-Hours; Manual setting up to 120 minutes of cook time
  • UL and ULC certified with 10 proven safety mechanisms; Highly energy efficient and kitchen friendly
  • Include 3-ply bottom stainless steel cooking pot, stainless steel steam rack with handle & manual and recipes in English and French

For a chicken tortilla soup not using a Instant Pot, stay tuned, ill post one version later.

Lets get on to the good stuff, the food.

The chicken tortilla soup can be made for a full course. Of course this is Mexican cuisine, so feel free to make this as sky as you would like. This is one of the easier recipes I have made with the Instant Pot. Total time to make it is about 15-30 minutes, 9 of those are those specific to the cook time. This is actually faster then my other recipe. I have served this meal for those are that Gluten Free (like my self) as well as those who are following a low carb diet. As yo start to read over the ingredients you will see the main ones are the chicken, chicken broth and of course the tortillas. I usually do not have a lot of left overs when I make it even  though the serving nice is between 4-6


Here is what you will need. Most of these items you can find at a local grocery store.

  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes 2 cans
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs boneless skinless
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 ounces green chiles diced, 1 can (of course the more cans you use, the spicer it may be, use real chiles for even more spice flavor.)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic minced (I use the minced garlic right from a jar and it turned out great. 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 Corn tortillas cut into 1 ⁄4 inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped fresh
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese shredded
  • 1 avocado diced and tossed with lime juice
  • Lime wedges
  • Additional Item:
    • 16 oz corn (1 can), I’ll add it in although this recipe does not call for it.
    • sour cream, I will add this to the bowl once I am ready to serve, of course this is based on each persons preference.


  1. Combine tomatoes, chicken, chiles, broth, onion, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper in the Instant Pot; mix well.

  2. Secure lid and move pressure release valve to Sealing position. Press Manual; cook at high pressure 9 minutes. When cooking is complete, use natural release for 10 minutes, then release remaining pressure.
  3. Remove chicken to plate; shred into bite-size pieces when cool enough to handle. Stir into soup.
  4. Press Sauté; add tortillas and cilantro to soup. Cook and stir 2 minutes or until heated through. I actually only add in the cilantro at this point. I cook the tortillas after cutting them in a bit of oil to make them crispy. Once I have served the soup in to bowls, then I will add the tortillas and top the bowl off with cheese, avocado and squeeze of lime juice. 

  5. Serve immediately.


Here are additional notes this this recipe that you might find helpful. These are not all to be combined, but each point is a different way to make the soup.

  • add 32 ounces of stock and a can of black beans and serve it with cheese quesadillas
  • add in 1 can of black beans and 1 can corn if you feel it needs a little more ingredients
  • add in 1 can of corn and 1 can of whole pinto beans
  • add in a bit of hot sauce, or leave it up to each persons preference
  • add in 3 10-oz cans of Rotel (mild), diced up one jalepeno pepper (no seeds), add 1 can of black beans (rinsed), 1 can of corn (not drained),  add 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. To kick it up a notch, turn on Saute, put avocado oil in the pot & saute the onion (2-3 mins on its own), add jalepeno and garlic with the seasoning for another 2-3 more mins before adding everything else.

What other ways have you tried making this recipe? Please share I am always interested to hear how others make tortilla soup.

Happy eating!


Where did Teavana go?

Where did Teavana go?  Have you ever heard of Starbucks? Well, then you know where Teavana went. Thats right, Starbucks purchased them back on December 31, 2012.  Starbucks acquired Teavana in a deal with an estimated value of $620 million. On July 27, 2017, Starbucks announced it would close all 379 Teavana stores by 2018. In my opinion, this is horrible news.

I found out about the closing of these stores back in August of 2017. I walked in to Teavana for the first time in 2012 in San Diego. A few weeks before I had some of the most wonderful jasmine tea at a restaurant and next I wanted to make my own more often. This also started my research as to the benefits of tea. Anyways, I walked in to Teavana so many moons ago and walked out with my first purchase of real leaf tea. My favorite was the jasmine oolong and over time I became a fan of many more. One of the ones I enjoyed the most in the past few months was the Jade Citrus Mint.

Anyways, in August I had walked in to the store closest to me and low and behold I wasted they would be closing. I was told a few stories from the people in the store. One of the stories was that when Teavana first opened, they were not build in a fashion in which to expand. I don’t know how true this is, but frankly if Panera has figured out a way to create a drive through, then I am sure Teavana could have come up with  a way to not only be in the mall. Another story I heard was that out of the total amount of revenue Starbucks was making with the tea, most of the revenue was coming from the Starbucks stores not the Teavana stores. My own thoughts is that Starbucks has no desire to actually expand Teavana, probably something in the acquisition stated that it was required to remain open for a certain period of time and that Starbucks didn’t get the rights to all the team until after a certain time.

I know my thoughts are just that, thoughts and I didn’t and don’t work for either company, but the way Starbucks went about closing the stores I think there is more to the story then just the two stores I heard when I was in the store. When I shared my story with the manager, he was very quick to defend Starbucks, which sorry Mr. Manager but this leads me to believe that you had already secured a job with Starbucks after they closed the Teavana stores. So of course you would defend the company that would be paying you your paycheck in the new year.

So here we are, early in 2018 and all of the Teavana stores around me are closed. I am glad I stocked up on some of my favorite leaf teas before they closed. I am also glad that Starbucks still carries the Jade Citrus Mint.

Interesting enough, early in the new year I went in to a Starbucks and requested my Jade Citrus Mint and come to find out they had ran out. Come to find out they decided to change the ingredients and make it Organic. Check it out!

Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea

Organic Jade Citrus Mint™ Brewed Tea

Bright citrus and rich China Chun Mee green tea base gets a hint of spearmint for a combination where refreshing meets refreshing.

Ingredients: An infusion of Water, Green Tea, Spearmint Leaves, Lemon Verbena, Lemongrass, Natural Flavor.

Organic Chun Mee green tea, lemon verbena, lemongrass and a hint of spearmint mingle for a bright, refreshing, citrusy green tea experience.

Ingredients: An infusion of Water, Organic Green Tea, Organic Spearmint, Organic Lemon Verbena, Organic Lemongrass, Natural Flavor.

For someone who has tried both the non-organic and organic, I can say that I don’t even taste a difference. I am hoping that Starbucks decides to carry several most Teavana teas, but I know only time will tell.

So when I run out of my leaf tea’s I don’t know where I will go but I am starting my search now. Have you heard of DAVID’s Tea?

Benefits of Tea


Today as I was walking the mall with my sister I was informed that teavana was going to be shot down. I have to say I am shocked, disappointed and actually very sad about this. I remember several years ago (probably like 7+ years ago) when I first found teavana. I was at an Indian restaurant in San Marcos, Ca and I was drinking tea with my dinner.

The tea was DEVINE!

The tea was DEVINE! I later found out if was jasmine tea and they were the real tea leaves.

The very next day I set out to find real tea leaf teas. I found some at a local international market. The jasmine tea they had was good but not great like I had at the restaurant. A few months went by and I found teavana. I think I was in heaven.

My collection of tea from teavana started with the jasmine oolong. This by the way is still my all time favorite. My first visit I left with jasmine oolong and I think the regular mint tea. Nothing to fancy. I of course returned several more times and my collection of teas continued to expand. I had two of this special tea makers that drain in to the cup, one for work and one for home. I happened to go in to teavana the week after Christmas and that is when they do there 50% off annual sale. Let’s just say I stocked up. With in two years my collection included a few herbal teas, a few green teas, of course my jasmine oolong and a few white and chai teas.

In case you didn’t know 5 years ago, Starbucks purchased teavana. I was sad when I heard this happened. I was afraid the teavanas would not be the same. Unfortunately I was right. The first thing I noticed was the jasmine oolong was off the shelf. What!!! How could this be, it’s one of the most popular teas. Several months, almost a year later I found out the jasmine was taken off the shelf to help develops new teas. Starbucks decided to use jasmine oolong as the base in a lot of there newer teas. They took the jasmine oolong off the shelf to create and test the new fancier teas they were making. Anyways jasmine oolong returned to the shelf almost a year later along with 5-10 new flavors.

I normally do not go in to the store that often, but when I moved to AZ three and a half years ago I needed to stock up on some tea. This is when I found out that Starbucks was coming out with new teas every estimated 3-6 months. This meant some teas were being taken off the shelf and replaced with new ones every 3-6 months. I learned fast, stock up if you like a certain kind.

Another change included only 7 types of teas could be made if you wanted to take a cup home with you. Prior to startbucks they would make any flavor cup of tea for you. Starbucks made several changes in the teavana stores and they made a change in the Starbucks locations as well which included selling 6-8 teavana teas in the startbucks. This I love and I sure hope they keep it up. I absolutely love being able to go in to startbucks and get a jade citrus mint cup of tea. I think I drank a grande one of these 3-4 times a week while I was pregnant. Starbucks also came out with a type of tea called Joy in 2015. You could only get it in Starbucks in 2015 and it was another Devine tea. Fortunately in 2016 they brought it back and you could buy the leaves directly at a teavana store. Yes I’m stocked up on this.

Anyways I know I’m going on about teavana. Well they are closing and the locations are expected to all be closed by spring of 2018. I don’t know if startbucks is going to keep the teas in the coffee shops (oh please do) or maybe leave them on line but I recommend stocking up. I am sad to have heard this. Tea, no matter the season is something you can have hot or cold.

If you do prefer ice tea over hot, there is a neat tea infuser that I use, strongly recommend.

There are many benefits of Tea, a few are…

1. Tea contains antioxidants

Antioxidants work to prevent the body’s version of rust and therefore help to keep us young and protect us from damage caused by pollution.

2. Tea has less caffeine than coffee

Herbal blends have no caffeine, while traditional teas have less than 50 percent of what typically is found in coffee. That means you can consume it without those pesky effects on your nervous system.

3. Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke

There is a lot of information out there on this. A study published earlier this year that combined data from a host of earlier reports found a nearly 20 percent reduction in the risk of heart attack and a 35 percent reduced risk of stroke among those who drank one to three cups of green tea a day. Those who drank four or more cups of green tea daily had a 32 percent reduction in the risk of having a heart attack and lower levels of LDL cholesterol.

4. Tea may help with weight loss

Research on this isn’t as strong, but studies that have shown an effect depending on consumption amount of tea and often in the pill form. Teavana came out with a tea called Weight To Go, which included strawberry. I think this was one of the first herbal teas that I got hooked on. I could drink it all day long and not get to hungry.

5. Tea may help protect your bones

Data from recent studies is starting to show that green tea may prevent bone loss.

6. Tea may keep your smile bright

Japanese researchers have found that tea can decrease tooth loss

It changes the pH in your mouth when you drink it and that may be what prevents cavities.

7. Tea may boost the immune system

Studies have shown tea can help immune cells. Wahoo, to the hope of not getting sick as frequently.

8. Herbal tea may soothe the digestive system

Herbal teas, in particular chamomile, can be good for people with irritable bowel syndrome because it is an antispasmodic. I personally use herbal teas to help my digestive issues. I use green tea to help calm my stomach if I accidentally eat gluten. Got to love celiac disease.

9. Tea — unadulterated, that is — is calorie free

I don’t know about you but I sometimes get tired of drinking wanter. Tea iss a great no-calorie alternative to water. It provides so many options for flavor and versatility. You can have it hot or cold. And you don’t have to put anything in it, though you might want to add a cinnamon stick or some ginger. That means you’re able to hydrate with something other than water alone.

I very much enjoy my cup of tea. I again, sure hope teavana sticks around but if not, I have begun my search for a place to get real leaf teas. Keep you posted on what I find.

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