Want a chance to win 1,000 Diet to Go meals?! Of course you do!

It’s January. Which means the gyms are filled with resolutioners and hopefuls, those embracing a new, active lifestyle. I say… “more power to them!” But — we can’t forget that some health enthusiasts fully believe that “Abs are made in the kitchen.” (I think my jellybelly was made in the kitchen too, but I digress!) Because you can’t embrace a new, healthy lifestyle without embracing a new, healthy eating plan, now’s your chance to give Diet to Go a try – for free! Diet to Go is offering up a chance to win 1,000 meals! Say whaaaaat?!

1000mealGiveaway-email

Your chances are good, guys. I admit — I’m lucky and I win raffles pretty frequently. Today, I’m sharing the good luck ju-ju with you! Here are all the awesome details:

• 5 lucky winners will receive one month of free meals! (Dude – I lost 9 pounds in a month!)
• 20 winners will receive a free week of meals! (And averaged 2.4 pounds per week)
• 25 winners will receive a $50 Diet-to-Go gift card! (With code NEWYEAR2014 you can save an additional 25% off!)

It’s easy. Simply enter your email address for your chance to win! Receive up to 5 bonus entries just by liking and sharing on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Plus, get unlimited bonus entries for each friend you refer! You can even enter right here, without having to go to any other website.



Now — want a few more chances to win? Of course! Join me and some other members of the Diet to Go Dream Team for a Twitter Party on January 7th at 9:00 p.m. EST. We’ll be talking about the Anti-New Year’s Resolution, which means using common-sense to make lifelong, lasting changes towards health. (It’s not about a diet or quick-fix. It’s about a lifestyle change) 1 randomly drawn chatter will win a Fitbit Flex Wristband or a Fitbit scale and 3 randomly drawn chatters will win 1 week of free meals. If you guys have never done a Twitter Party, it’s fun, I promise! You answer questions sent out into the Twittersphere by @diettogo using the hashtag #diettogo, and each answer gives you more chances to win.

Enough of me blabbing – let’s get to WINNING! Enter now and please let me know if you have any questions :)

***Diet to Go is compensating me for helping to promote this sweepstakes. As a reminder, I only promote things I believe in — no B.S. here!

 

Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free Cookbook Review and Giveaway

doublechindiary_almondcookie

Hi everybody, happy Friday! A few months back I had the opportunity to sign up to review a new cookbook by Ricki Heller called Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free.  I knew back then that following the PCOS diet would mean making healthier choices in regards to sweets, and trying to eat as close to low-glycemic as possible would be a huge puzzle piece in my efforts to get fit. The book first attracted me because of the gorgeous cupcakes on the front cover. Although I can get down and dirty in the kitchen, I don’t consider myself a great baker… EXCEPT for making and decorating cupcakes. A few cake deco classes later, and I’m pretty confident with my swirly-topped creations. I have to admit that sometimes, the words gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan make me skeptical. Is it *possible* to have delicious tasting treats without butter, cream, eggs, or sugar? The answer is yes, and I know from both Lenny & Larry’s Vegan Protein Cookies and this new cookbook that vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free CAN mean delicious!
As a highly visual person, one of my favorite things about this book is the gorgeous photography by Celine Saki. There are more than 60 full-color photographs in the book, which makes me happy because I think the most important part of any cookbook, besides the recipes, are the pictures. Doesn’t this picture of Cinnamon Buns make you drool? I’m a sucker for gorgeously styled food photography, and I must be the daughter of a photographer because today I was even pondering buying one of those mini light boxes for amateur food photographers.

vegancinnamonbuns_rickiheller

Heller also spends some time discussing how she came to be a food blogger and natural foods baker. She struggled with IBS and various tummy ailments her whole life, until she learned to start eliminating wheat, sugar and processed foods from her diet. Her story is similar to so many people I know, including my best friend, and I always appreciate it when authors give personal context to their work. Heller also provides a handy breakdown of the different types of non-wheat flours and sweeteners, which was helpful to me as I cheated a little bit in the upcoming recipe and used pre-ground Almond Flour by Bob’s Redmill. Shhhh.

The recipe I decided to test first was the “Easiest Almond Cookies”. The relatively short ingredients list appealed to me, and other than flax seed, I had almost all of the ingredients on hand. I was slightly intimidated by the process of grinding my flax seeds at first, because my food processor wasn’t seeming to “grind” them — just whirled them around helplessly. I finally realized if I jiggled the processor a little bit as it spun, it hit the seeds just right to turn them into crumbly, coarse meal.

Easiest Almond Cookies by Ricki Heller

Easiest Almond Cookies by Ricki Heller

Once I got past the step, the recipe lived up to its name, and they were pretty darn easy to make. I especially like that these are “smush” cookies, meaning you get to roll the dough into little balls with your hands, which I always think is fun. What can I say, I’m still six years old in a lot of ways :) After a brief visit in the oven for just eight minutes, my cookies were delightfully firm around the edges but still chewy and soft. I barely let them cool, took a bite and was pleasantly surprised by how clean they tasted. Most cookies are so sweet that you’re kind of sugar-shocked with the first bite. These have a very delicate, light taste with a fragrant almond after taste. The texture would be lovely with a dark British tea like PG Tips. I did make one small substitution by using coconut oil instead of the suggested sunflower oil, as I had it on hand and am loving all things coconutty.

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You can find the recipe at the bottom of this post, but because you guys are awesome and so is Ricki Heller, she’s graciously offered one copy of the book to one lucky Double Chin Diary reader. To enter is pretty straight-forward — just leave a comment on this post telling me which recipe from the book you’d most like to try. You can read about a few more recipes at this webpage. For an extra entry, “like” Ricki Heller on Facebook or follow Ricki Heller on Twitter.  Just let me know in the comments if you did either, and I’ll count your entry twice. This giveaway will end one week from now, on Friday, October 4 at 11:59 PM PST. GOOD LUCK!

Easiest Almond Cookies by Ricki Heller

This recipe is from Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free by Ricki Heller. Recipe re-printed with permission from Sellers Publishing, 2013.

Yield: 15 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (12 oz or 340 g) natural raw skin on almonds, preferably organic
  • 1/4 cup (25 g) finely ground flax seeds (from about 2 Tbsp or 30 ml whole)
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) sunflower or other light-tasting oil, preferably organic
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) water, if necessary

 

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray.
  • 2. In the bowl of a food processor, whir the almonds, flax, baking soda, and salt until you have a very fine meal (it should be the consistency of a coarse cornmeal or fine breadcrumbs, with no large pieces of almond visible). Watch that you don’t blend so long as to obtain almond butter, however!
  • 3. Add the agave nectar, oil, and extracts, and process again just until the mixture holds together and leaves the sides of the bowl. It should look like a moist dough. If the mixture is too dry, add the water and pulse quickly to blend.
  • 4. Using a small ice-cream scoop or tablespoon (15 ml), scoop the dough and roll into balls; place them about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Wet your palms (or use a silicone spatula) and press down to flatten each ball to about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick.
  • 5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets about halfway through baking, until the edges are barely golden brown and the cookies are dry in the center (the tops will still be light). Allow to cool completely before removing from the cookie sheets; the cookies firm up as they cool.

**** A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes, and an affiliate link to Amazon is included above. As always, all opinions are always 100% my own!

lyssaloves

Puzzled and Polished Earrings Giveaway

Hello, Double Chinners! I’m going to start off with a fact that may surprise some of you (it will at least surprise the people who don’t follow me on instagram). Here it comes…

I am slightly obsessed with nail polish.

The obsession started in junior high, when I wasn’t quite bold enough to put colorful streaks in my hair, but felt that blood red nail polish was edgy enough to freak out my mom. When that didn’t work, I moved onto sparkly greens and teals, chunky glitters shaped like hearts and stars. My nails became a 10-fingered salute to my growing creativity and self expression, often chipped and showing the hard life of a suburban teenaged girl. (Catch that sarcasm?).

I gave up on nails in college, because the maintenance got to be too much and I preferred my nails short and unpolished, maybe sometimes with a clear coat for shine. Somehow, over the past two years, my love for nail polish has been reignited. There are several people to blame, the first being KJ Pugs, a dear friend and lover of all things glossy. The second is my friend Jenny, who brought me to my first pedicure, where I fell in love with the 5 minute foot massage and delicate, white flowers painted on my big toes.

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Today, for the love of nail polish, I’m offering you this beautiful, hand-made pair of earrings from Puzzled and Polished, an awesome new business venture from my blogger friend Manda. I believe these earrings were made with Zoya Zuza, a lovely mermaid-esque teal. Manda’s son has autism, and she decided to combine her love of nail polish with her mission to raise awareness and funds for Cristian’s Cruisers, a Walk Now for Autism team. Here I am, wearing my pair. Mandy hand paints each piece with her choice of a special nail polish, and then fastens them to durable and high-quality jewelry findings. Combining nail polish with a super awesome mission? My cup of tea!

Don't let the giant wreath distract you (I know, I need to take it down!) from the beautiful Puzzled and Polished earrings I'm wearing!

Don’t let the giant wreath distract you (I know, I need to take it down!) from the beautiful Puzzled and Polished earrings I’m wearing!

If you’d like to enter to win this pair of earrings, all you have to do is “like” the Puzzled & Polished Facebook page and leave me a comment on this blog entry. I’ll pick a winner on Friday, so get likin’, before my nails dry! ;)

Why do you like Chike? Giveaway!

Hellloooo Double Chinners! I’ve missed you! I’m back from my trip to Thailand and while I have TONS to tell you about, I wanted to kick off the new year with a great giveaway! Chike, tasty high protein shakes, is offering one of my readers a BPA Free Shaker and Ball and a set of their best flavors. Read my review and then enter by following the instructions at the bottom of this post.

20130106-183108.jpgI had initially heard of Chike through some of my favorite bloggers who focus on bariatric surgery. When you have weight loss surgery, you can’t eat as much, so quality high protein drinks like Chike are desirable to fill you up but also give you vitamins, protein and calcium. Since I’m a fan of anything quick and tasty, I definitely wanted to try these out as they’re not just for people who’ve had bariatric surgery.

The first one I was going to try was the protein packed iced coffee…but my husband got to it first. This is a big deal, Chike, because most of the “blog stuff” that comes to our house he won’t touch as it’s more often than not something weird like mushroom noodles. Matt’s review? “Very good! I was skeptical of a high protein coffee but with ice and water this had the caffeine I wanted and it filled me up.” Matt didn’t realize it was a meal replacement until I told him later that day when he didn’t want dinner! Haha!

photo 1I decided to try the chocolate flavor, and went all fancy by using cold milk in the shaker instead of water. I added some calories and fat this way but I prefer a creamier tasting drink and love that cold milk foam you get on top! After a couple hearty shakes, my drink was ready to go. I was also very pleasantly surprised, because most weight loss powdered drinks taste like chocolate flavored chalk. Not this one. It also didn’t have little bubbles of powder in it still, which is a plus if you’re a huge freak about texture like I am. Nice!

I haven’t tried them all, but my next favorite is strawberry. It doesn’t taste exactly like a sun ripened strawberry, maybe more like strawberry ice cream. I’d love to maybe one day see this shake from Chike with some small dried strawberry pieces. Then it would totally be like a milkshake! Chike also sent me vanilla, creamsicle and banana, but those are chillin in my pantry waiting to be eaten for breakfast! :)

I think you’ll really like these if you give them a try, so please enter the giveaway. Once again, just like Chike’s Facebook page here and write on their wall why you would like to try Chike. You can just copy and paste something like this – “I’m Jane and was sent over by the Double Chin Diary. I would like to try Chike because I want one of those snazzy shaker ball cups!”

photo 2Then just come back here, tell me you commented, and you’re good to go! If you want an extra entry, send a tweet about the giveaway and tag @lyssacurran or @doublechindiary and @chikenutrition with this link: http://wp.me/p2kXVY-ym .

Once again, leave a comment letting me know you did. You guys rock!This contest will end on Monday, January 14th at 12:01 AM PST. I will randomly pick a winner. GOOD LUCK!

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to read about how one of my new year’s resolutions is already off to a strong, itchy and quite-a-story type of start! (It involves: severe weather, mosquitoes, jungle treks and getting lost. Whee!)

Homemade Harvey Review and Giveaway!

Homemade Harvey Crushed Fruit

Hi Bloggies,
You can tell we’re getting close to the Holidays because it’s giveaway central over here lately! Today, the folks at Homemade Harvey are offering you a chance to win a $50 whole foods giftcard, and a bunch of their super yummy crushed fruit. Read on for why you’re going to want to get your hands on this sweet fruity snack!

Happy Girl likes Homemade Harvey’s

When I saw Homemade Harvey in my Facebook news feed, I was intrigued. I always like trying healthy, low cal snacks and sharing them with you. The company sent me some free samples – and holy moly, I was blown away! Here’s the beauty of Homemade Harvey – it’s nothing fancy. It’s simple. It reminds me of a yummy smoothie or some fresh apple sauce – because all it really is is crushed fruit. There’s no chemicals, no preservatives and no weird added flavors – just fruit all crushed up and smashed in a handy little pouch for you to slurp up.

When I first got them I had a fear of the texture. I like smooth things, but would sucking something from a pouch make me feel like a toothless toddler? Thankfully, the answer is no, and I kept thinking what a great snack this would be for kids or for anyone on the run in need of something fast. My only complaint is I ate the packet too fast and would find myself squeezing for one more last drop. But uh, that’s a problem with my appetite – not the product.

Homemade Harvey comes in four different flavors –
Mango Pineapple Passionfruit
Blueberry Strawberry Apple (My favorite)
Apple Pear Oats Ginger
Banana Strawberry Kiwi (My second favorite)

Check out the ingredients list on my fav flavor – Organic strawberry, banana, apple, kiwi and lemon peel. That’s it. Love that.

The texture of Homemade Harvey’s is smooth and soft – no yucky gunk here!

Because I’m a weirdo, I was curious what the paste looked like. I expected brown gunk like day old guacamole, but instead this delightful and cheery smooth orange puree came out of the package. Looks like baby food. Totally edible, and not yucky looking like I was fearing. Even better, calorie-wise, each one comes in under 100 calories – the lowest is the blueberry with 80 calories. Considering this is at least two servings of fruit crammed into each pouch, this is a snack I feel good about slurping up. You can find it at Whole Foods and at some Ralph’s stores – you can check the website for a store locator.

So – now you definitely want to win some Harveys and a $50 Whole Foods gift card, right?! It’s easy to enter – first thing you have to do is leave a blog comment saying which flavor you’d like to try most – and second thing is just mark “I did it” on rafflecopter. You can score extra entries by tweeting, “liking” on FB, etc. Just make sure you check the box “I did it!” each time on Rafflecopter. This giveaway will last for one week, which means it will end at 11:59 PM on Wednesday, November 14th. US only, please. GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway