Gift Card & Coupon Giveaway Winner!

SandThinGvewyWinrCongratulations to commentor #18, “DabMab,” for winning the $25 Gift Card and Coupon for free product  from Bagel Thins®, Pocket Thins®, or Sandwich Thins®!  She mentioned that a favorite healthy sandwich of hers is spicy black bean hummus on a tortilla with chopped cucumber, cilantro, and fresh corn kernels–yum, that does sound good! I’ll be getting in touch with the winner to get mailing info so your prize can get to you soon!

Thanks so much to all of you who participated in the giveaway! Thanks so much, too, for your nice comments and for sharing about your favorite healthy sandwiches–you all had some great-sounding ideas and I enjoyed hearing about them!

Hope you all have a great week! :)

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Daffodils

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I picked these daffodils yesterday–they’ve just recently started blooming. They were growing by the side of the road, and I just had to pick some! I love the variety–some are bright yellow, some are soft yellow, and some are soft cream. My favorite, though, are the daffodils that have creamy petals with vivid orange centers.

Do you have daffodils in your garden and are they blooming yet?

I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Black Bean Hummus Bagel Thins® Bagel and a Gift Card & Coupon Giveaway!

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I’m such a bread lover–I love all kinds of breads, rolls, bagels–you name it. But I’ve found that I really have to watch how much bread I eat because it tends to want to stick with me–can you relate? :)  So when I was asked if I’d like to try out some Sandwich Thins®, Pocket Thins®, and Bagel Thins®, I was definitely interested! Especially when I found out they are endorsed by Weight Watchers®, and are just 110 calories each or less. I received coupons for free product, product information, and a gift card to cover the cost of my recipe ingredients, courtesy of Sandwich Thins®, Pocket Thins®, and Bagel Thins®. I tried out some recipes, like the one shown in the photo above, plus a few others. I’ll share these with you, and then I’ll tell you more about my Gift Card and Coupon giveaway at the end of the post!

ncThinkThin1If you’re not familiar with these Thomas’® and Arnold®, Brownberry®, and Oroweat® products, which all have a Weight Watchers® 3 PointsPlus VALUE®, here’s a little info about them:

  • The Sandwich Thins® Rolls have zero grams of Trans Fat, no high fructose corn syrup, are cholesterol free, and come in 100% Whole Wheat, Multi-Grain, Honey Wheat, and Flax & Fiber.
  • The Pocket Thins® Flatbreads also have zero grams of Trans Fat, no high fructose corn syrup, are cholesterol free, and come in 8 Grain, 100% Whole Wheat, and Italian Herb.
  • The Bagel Thins® Bagels have zero grams of Trans Fat, are low in fat, cholesterol free, and come in 100% Whole Wheat, Plain, Cinnamon Raisin, and Everything.

Here are the recipes I made with them…

BLACK BEAN HUMMUS BAGEL THINS® BAGEL adapted from Thomas’®

Makes 1 serving

  • 1 Thomas® 100% Whole Wheat Bagel Thins® bagel (Weight Watchers® 3 PointsPlus)
  • 4 Tablespoons black bean hummus (I used my own Black Bean Hummus recipe, but there’s also an easy one you can make from the original recipe here)
  • 2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of your favorite salsa
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced black olives
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Start out by spreading on the hummus and Greek yogurt…then add the rest of the toppings!

Separate and toast a bagel. Place bagel down open-faced and top each half with 2 Tablespoons of black bean hummus, 1 Tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt (or low-fat sour cream), 1 Tablespoon salsa, 1/2 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, and 1 Tablespoon sliced black olives. Serve immediately. For more servings, just multiply the ingredients by the number of servings you want to make.

ncChickCaesarnmCHICKEN CAESAR POCKET adapted from Thomas’®

Makes 1 pocket sandwich

  • 1 Oroweat® Italian Herb Pocket Thins® flatbread (Weight Watchers® 3 PointsPlus)
  • 2/3 cup Romaine lettuce leaves, chopped into small pieces (or use a Romaine lettuce mix)
  • 3 slices thin-sliced deli chicken, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 heaping Tablespoon shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons non-fat Caesar salad dressing

Toss chopped lettuce leaves, chicken, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing together in small bowl. Fill Italian Herb Pocket Thin® with lettuce mixture and serve.

ncTomatoBrushettanmGRAPE TOMATO BRUSCHETTA adapted from Arnold® Bread

Makes 2 slices of bruschetta

  • 1 Arnold® Sandwich Thins® Honey Wheat roll, separated (Weight Watchers® 3 PointsPlus)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise (be sure to slice them lengthwise–I sliced mine the wrong way and they didn’t lay on the roll as well!)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil or garlic-infused olive oil
  • 3 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Toast the separated Sandwich Thins® rolls to a light golden brown. In a bowl, mix sliced grape tomatoes with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Stack basil leaves and roll them in the shape of a log. Horizontally slice the rolled basil, making ribbons. Toss most of the cut basil with the tomatoes, reserving a little for garnish.

Spoon dressed tomatoes on top of each toasted Sandwich Thins® half and garnish with the remaining basil ribbons and shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Hope you enjoy trying these recipes out! :)

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED–Winning comment is #18!

Now for the Giveaway–a $25 Visa gift card and coupon for free product! If you’d like to enter to win a $25 Visa gift card, plus a coupon for free product shown in this post (Sandwich Thins®, Pocket Thins®, or Bagel Thins), leave a comment on this blog post between now and Sunday, March 30 at 8 p.m. (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Sunday evening, March 30. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway is limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post–it would be great to hear what your favorite healthy sandwich is!

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

Note: If your comment doesn’t show up right away, it just means I need to click on it to approve it before it’s visible–I do this because of spam comments that sometimes come through!

 

 

Mango-Jalapeno Salsa from The Daniel Plan Cookbook

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Now that the weather is warming up, I’ve been eating more fruit–there’s something about the warmer weather that makes me crave it more! I love all kinds of fruit and that’s what I like about this Mango-Jalapeno Salsa–there’s a nice variety of fruit–mango, pineapple, and apple–mixed in with some diced tomato and red bell pepper. It’s a little on the spicy side, so use half the amount of jalapeno and ginger if you want a milder salsa. Overall, I think this is a great, healthy mix of naturally sweet and savory flavors!

517gSVWkM3L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Speaking of healthy, this recipe is from a new cookbook out last month, The Daniel Plan Cookbook, by Pastor Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman. It’s a companion book to the New York Times Bestseller, The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life and has 100 easy recipes (with full-color photos) to help you eat healthy for life. “Food truly is medicine,” says one of the authors, Dr. Hyman. Eating real, whole foods can help reverse chronic disease, aid in weight loss, and even optimize brain health. In developing the book, the authors thought about what most people like to eat, then created healthy versions of popular dishes to show that healthy eating is possible in the “real world.” So there are recipes for Blueberry French Toast, BBQ Chicken Pizza, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Classic Meatloaf, and Chocolate Coconut pudding, to name a few…that just goes to show you don’t need to feel deprived when you’re eating healthy!

I received a sampler of recipes from the book and decided to try the Mango-Jalapeno Salsa. This tropical-style salsa goes well with Mexican recipes using fish or chicken, like the Grilled Spicy Fish Tacos, another delicious-sounding recipe in the book. I really like it with those blue corn tortilla chips, too.

MANGO-JALAPENO SALSA from The Daniel Plan Cookbook

  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup seeded and diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons minced seeded jalapeno (use half the amount of jalapeno and ginger for a milder salsa)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place salsa ingredients in a bowl. Mix together well. Chill in refrigerator. (Keeps up to 1 week refrigerated).

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This makes about 3 1/2 cups of salsa. It’s really easy to make and so good! Have you tried making a fruity salsa before?

Black Bean Hummus

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When I was at the grocery store the other day, I saw some Black Bean Hummus. I hadn’t noticed that flavor before and it  sounded great ! Instead of buying some, I decided to make my own.

You use black beans instead of garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) in this hummus, but it still has many of the same ingredients you would use in your typical hummus recipe…like olive oil, garlic, and tahini. It also has a little cayenne pepper in it, which adds some spiciness–but if you prefer a milder flavor, leave it out.

This is a smooth and creamy hummus, and I love the flavor combination of the black beans with all the other spices. If you like hummus and black beans, keep this recipe in mind!

BLACK BEAN HUMMUS by NancyCreative

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Optional garnishes: 10 to 12 Kalamata olives, 1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Place all ingredients, except for the garnish ingredients (olives and cilantro), in a food processor or high-power blender; process until smooth and creamy. Spoon into a bowl and garnish with olives and fresh cilantro. Serve with pita bread, fresh veggies, or tortilla chips.

I’m enjoying trying out and creating different hummus recipes! I’ve also made these other hummus recipes: basic HummusSun-Dried Tomato Hummus, and Pumpkin Hummus.   Do you have a favorite hummus flavor?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Spring Colors

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I love the colors in this photo I took of hydrangeas, my favorite flower! I thought I’d call out some of these colors and make a spring color palette! These would be great colors to decorate with…or even create artwork or crafts with.

Hope you are enjoying the arrival of spring! :)

I’m linking this to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.

Love Bulk Foods and Celebrate Earth Month!

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In a little over a week, April will be here already and April is Earth Month (Earth Day is April 22). It’s a great reminder for us to do what we can to care for our environment…we can all do something, whether it’s recycling, composting, reducing waste, using environmental-friendly cleaning products…things that a lot of you probably do already! I’ve been much more conscious myself about recycling and trying to cut down on unnecessary waste these past few years. And a really simple way that anyone can help reduce paper and packaging waste is by buying natural and organic foods from bulk food bins available at various grocery stores, health food stores, and natural food co-ops. I usually buy things like peanut butter, almond butter, and different granolas from the bulk bins, but I’m realizing now that there are many other things I could be buying!

lovebulkbuttonThere’s a non-profit organization, the Bulk is Green Council (BIG), that is dedicated to promoting the environmental and economical benefits of using natural and organic bulk foods. To help celebrate Earth Month this year, the Bulk is Green Council (BIG) is challenging consumers to “Love Bulk Foods.” And they are offering you the chance to win a prize pack filled with some great products to help you start creating your own pantry of eco-friendly bulk foods. The photo above shows what’s included in the prize pack–a starter kit of popular natural and organic bulk foods that can be found in most bulk bins at natural food co-ops and grocery stores from these brands: SunRidge Farms, Frontier Natural Products Co-op, Lundberg Family Farms, and several other bulk brands…organic and natural foods like granola, whole grains, spices, trail mix…lots of yummy and healthy things! You’ll also get two really nice 100% recycled glass storage jars to keep some of your bulk foods in and a handy canvas “Love Bulk” tote to use on your shopping trips!

To enter the drawings for the prize packs: The Bulk is Green Council (BIG) will have a drawing each week in the month of April–you just need to take the pledge to Love Bulk Foods at the BIG website, agreeing to purchase natural and organic bulk foods once a week during Earth Month–and you’ll automatically be entered for the drawings! You can read more about this and take the pledge by clicking here at the Bulk is Green website.

Here’s some helpful information about the benefits of buying natural and organic bulk foods and some shopping tips:

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I had no idea so much landfill waste could be prevented by purchasing bulk foods! I know I’m going to make an extra effort to buy what I can in bulk. Earth month in April will be a great reminder for me to do that!

Do you like the idea of buying bulk foods and what kinds of foods do you buy? Do you plan on taking the pledge to “Love Bulk” in April?

I received a complimentary bulk foods prize pack to sample and write about, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own.

A New Thing

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I’m so excited spring is here! After this especially cold winter, I’m looking forward to brighter, longer, warmer days with flowers blooming and birds chirping!

I’ve always loved springtime because it’s a time of fresh, new beginnings. Are you ready for something new? God delights in doing fresh new things in our lives. Ask Him to show you what “new thing” He has for you!

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

ISAIAH 43:18-19 (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Shamrock Smoothie

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If you want a cool, creamy treat, this smoothie is just the thing to make! It gets it’s creaminess from the tasty blend of frozen kiwifruit, banana, and key lime yogurt (you can substitute vanilla yogurt, but I really like this with the lime). There are a few other ingredients you’ll see in the recipe below and they all blend up into this wonderful smoothie that not only tastes great, but is also a delightful springy shade of green. How can you resist that?

SHAMROCK SMOOTHIE by NancyCreative, adapted from Midwest Living

Makes about 16 ounces, or 2 servings

  • 2 kiwifruit, peeled and quartered
  • 1 banana, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup seedless green grapes
  • 1 (6-ounce) container key lime or vanilla flavored yogurt
  • 1/3 cup orange juice or white grape juice, well-chilled
  • 1/2 Tablespoon honey
  • Optional: additional kiwi fruit slices for garnish

Several hours or the night before making: Place the 2 peeled and quartered kiwifruit and sliced banana in a small freezer bag and freeze for 2 hours or until frozen (arrange fruit flat in a single layer in the bag so it doesn’t freeze into a big clump; otherwise it will be too hard to break up for blending).

When ready to make, add grapes, yogurt, juice, honey, and half of the frozen fruit (break up fruit if any pieces have stuck together while freezing). Cover and blend until smooth. Add remaining frozen fruit and blend until smooth.

Pour into glasses and, if desired, garnish with fresh kiwi fruit slices.

Hope you get a chance to enjoy this smoothie! What kinds of fun green treats are you making (or eating) for St. Patrick’s Day?

Pear Lime Kiwifruit Water

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I thought I’d try a flavored water with a green theme, since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up! But of course, this water is great any time of the year. You mostly taste the lime in this, but the kiwifruit and pear slices make the pitcher of water look so nice! :) I think this water tastes best the same day you make it, but you’ll want to refrigerate it a few hours before serving so the water has more flavor. Use organic produce if you can when making this.

PEAR, LIME, KIWIFRUIT WATER by NancyCreative

Makes a large pitcher (half gallon) of flavored water

  • 8 cups of water (I used 2 cups of sparkling water mixed in with 6 cups of regular water to give it a slight fizziness–see note below*)
  • 1 large organic pear, cut into thin slices
  • 2 limes, cut into thin slices
  • 2 kiwifruit, cut into thin slices

Fill pitcher with 8 cups of water. Add slices of pear, lime, and kiwifruit, and stir all ingredients together in the pitcher. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving (the slices of kiwifruit tend to settle at the bottom, so you will need to stir before serving to mix all the fruit evenly). When ready to serve, add ice cubes to pitcher and stir or add ice to individual glasses and pour the flavored water over the ice.

*For a fizzy water drink, use Seltzer water or natural sparkling water (like Perrier) instead of regular water, or use some of each (do not use Club Soda or Tonic Water, as one is high in sodium and the other is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup).

Have you tried making any uniquely-flavored water lately?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.