What Would You Do for the HH Bar?

Wheeewwww!!! It has been a busy past few days as I’m sure it’s been the same for you.  I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! 

I’ve been running around like a crazy person since this past Wednesday trying to get shopping done, presents wrapped, and helping my husband put together a very large wooden swing set with literally over a thousand parts including screws, nuts & bolts, and wood for my nephew over at my sister’s house. 

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Speaking of my sister–she was super excited about giving me my Christmas gift this year.  She had it custom made and ordered it online through a website she found through some navigating the world wide web.  To my surprise, she had a nutrition bar customized for The Healthified Haven in me and based the ingredients off of my three-times-attempted failure of a cookie recipe.

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Do you see the name of those nutrition bars?  That is the very first box of Healthified Haven Bars.

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The real test was in the taste.  Well, the truth is they taste much like my cookies.  ;)  Slightly chocolaty, crumbly, dry—wait, much like a protein bar.  However, I’m not sure they could go for a “protein bar” since they only contain 7 protein grams.  Though the stats would suffice in my book for a snack bar with 198 calories, 20 grams of carbs. (4 of which are fiber), and 11 fat grams (from the cashew butter); I am not sure I will be lapping them down any time soon nor trying to make a profit. 

On the other hand I do love the concept of having my own personalized bar and think it is hilariously awesome that my sister was so thoughtful in her gift giving.  She also gave me some mismatch bowls and placemats which will soon be making an appearance on The Healthified Haven.  Thank you sis!  Truthfully, I loved all of the gifts. 🙂

On a cold, rainy morning–

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Christmas Day, Chris and I made three different family visits.  The first stop was at my sister-in-law’s house to exchange gifts with hub’s family and also have lunch.

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Twin Nieces posing for the camera.

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Nephew opening gifts.

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Chris’s grandmother opening her pelican (LA state bird) pendant.

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The husband and his uncle—not quite sure what was happening there.

Just a tasting plate of all the food because we still had two more stops.

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Cornbread casserole, sweet potato casserole, smothered green beans, and ham. 

On to the next place—we went to my paternal grandparent’s house.  I chose to skip the meal which included mac-n-cheese, turkey, salad, casseroles of all kinds and lots of desserts.  I did enjoy some of my pawpaw’s fruit salad.

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My grandpa has made this as long as I can remember.  I think it is a mix of fresh fruit with Hawaiian Punch poured on top.  It is so tasty and refreshing with the mix of apples, oranges, grapes, cherries, peaches, and maybe some other fruits.

I only took a couple of pictures of my niece, but their were a ton of people jammed packed in the grandparent’s small house including aunts, uncles, cousins, and second cousins—about fifty people.  Here is one of the pictures of my niece because it is too cute not to share.

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She did have a pretty Christmas dress on to match her bow, but she had a little accident all over herself and one of my aunts.  So she got to don her warm and cozy Christmas PJs.

The last stop was to see my mom along with my sister and her family.  Mom made chicken and sausage file’ gumbo, potato salad, and baked ham.  I had some of each.

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I’ve recently been informed that some people in this area actually mix their potato salad with the gumbo.  So I gave it a try; not really my thing, but it was worth a try.

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Baked ham on a pistolette with mustard on a new placemat from sis.  I did also eat some more potato salad.  And for dessert—an Italian crème cake.

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We also opened presents.

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My nephew listening to his Frosty the Snowman song book.

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Mom playing Santa Mom to me and Chris, my brother-in-law, and sister!

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Nephew so excited to try out his truck potty he just sat right on the box. 🙂

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Me getting some final smooches from my niece just as we all said good night!

It was a wonderful day spent with the ones I love!  And I’m grateful for all of the presents I received—perfumes, scarf and glove set, gift cards, boots, bowls, and of course The Healthified Haven Bars.

What gift were you most excited to give or receive this Christmas?

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Winter is here and evident– The weather temperatures are in the forties, my hands are red and dry, it is so cold it hurts.  The frigid temperatures don’t stay long around here in southeastern Louisiana, so when it is this cold out it is quite the adjustment.

Waking up this a.m. all I wanted was some warming oatmeal.

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My oatmeal was cooked on the stove for 5 minutes on medium heat including:

~1/4 c old fashioned oats

~1/4 c water

~1/4 c low fat milk

~mashed banana

~pinch of salt

~dash of vanilla

~generous dash of cinnamon

I crumbled a small date, pecan, chocolate chip muffin on top with a spoonful of peanut butter.  I also sipped a mug of soothing mango black tea.

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Ummm, I need to invest in some winter placemats; please forgive my continuous fall colors.  😉

Lunch was more of my delicious gumbo with a crisp apple.

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I did add some water during the reheating to make it more soupy.  This picture was snapped fresh out of the refrigerator so looks slightly thick.

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After work today I headed home and decided to forego working out for a nap.  I felt sore from yesterday’s workout and worn out.  So after my snack, I took an hour nap.  I enjoyed the rest of my favorite hummus with some baby carrots.  I also had a few miniature chocolate peanut butter cups Mom brought back from her first trip to Trader Joe’s Chicago back in September.

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Tonight’s dinner was requested by Chris.  I told him I had ground beef and pork chops and asked him what he wanted for dinner.  He requested chili.  And of course with this chilly weather, I obliged with his request.  Using jarred tomato basil sauce and the recipe on the back of the chili powder I made the chili with a few adjustments.  I’ve made this twice before and Chris thoroughly enjoys it.

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 Chili Recipe (my changes in parentheses)

1 pound lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 tbsp. olive oil (added)

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. flour

1/2 tsp. cumin, ground

1 tsp. salt (more added to taste)

cayenne pepper to taste (added)

2 tbsp. honey (substituted this for sugar)

1 1/2 cup tomato basil sauce (substituted this for 8 oz. canned, plain sauce)

2 tbsp. ketchup (added)

1 1/2 cup water (original called for 1 cup)

1 cup baby portabella mushrooms, sliced (added)

Optional toppings: pita chip crumbs, greek yogurt, cheese (added)

Directions:  Heat oil in large saucepan.  Saute’ onions, garlic, and beef until browned.  Drain any excess liquid.  Add remaining ingredients and stir.  Cook on medium low for 30 minutes.  Plate and top with desired toppings.

I ate my chili with a dollop of 0% greek yogurt and some multigrain pita crumbs. (I knew I saved that bag of crumbs for a reason.)

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This chili recipe is super simple, super filling, and super comforting especially when the cold winter air is in full swing.

What is your “go to” cold weather meal?

My First Attempt at Gumbo, Sha!

Hi Sha!  My grandpa always called my granny that when they were with us, most often when he was annoyed with her and didn’t want to call her some other slip of the tongue.  Sha is a cajun french expression for referring to one’s spouse or as a term of endearment meaning dear/darling.  Just in case you want to call your better half “sha,” the a is pronounced like the a in apple. 😉

Well, last night I did end up making some gumbo.  I attempted to use this recipe, but some things went awry so I had to make some alterations.

gumbo recipe

My first roux (flour and oil mixture to create gravy) got burnt in the microwave. 

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So if attempting it in the microwave, stir every minute after the first three not after six as the recipe says.  Now it says get to a chocolate bar color; I have always been told a dark peanut butter color.

So roux attempt # 2 was more successful.  I did it stovetop using a cup of flour and a cup of olive oil since I was now out of canola oil.

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I did continue whisking for a couple more minutes as the flour and oil mixture darkened even more.  If making this stovetop do NOT leave it.  Continue stirring the entire time and have veggies precut to add immediately when desired color is reached. 

Normally, gumbo includes the vegetable trinity—onion, bell pepper, and celery.  I used two onions and 1 celery rib chopped plus a tbsp. of garlic since I did not have a bell pepper.  Once the roux was a dark, dark peanut butter color I added the veggies and sauteed them in the roux with continuous stirring until tender.  Next I added the seasoned chicken cubes (I cut up chicken tenderloins into cubes) and sliced turkey smoked sausage.  Continue stirring and cooking on medium low until chicken is cooked on the outside.  Then I added about 8-10 cups of water.  Next, I seasoned with more hot sauce than recommended, cayenne pepper, salt, a tsp. of dried thyme, 3 bay leaves, and a tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce.  This simmered for about an hour.  Any oil that floated to the top was skimmed off at this point.

At this point the husband came home and I told him my gumbo was too light.  He added about 2 tablespoons of the unburnt microwaved roux which gave a much nicer color.  Mom recommends adding a teaspoon of Kitchen Bouquet liquid if darkening is needed; however, I did not have that ingredient.

The gumbo cooked an hour longer after adding the additional roux.  Today it was reheated on the stove; after heating I added some chopped green onions and cooked 15 minutes longer.  Lastly, after turning the fire off, I stirred in half a teaspoon of ground file’ (fee-lay) powder, which is ground sassafras.  Additionally, file’ can be added at serving time to suit personal tastes.

The gumbo was served with a scoop of brown rice and cornbread muffins.

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Her plate above and his plate below.

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As I was snapping my pictures, Chris felt the need to decorate. 🙂

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I impressed myself.  This was divine, sha!

Niko waited patiently for a taste. Pardon the Hub’s finger at the top.

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Looking back on my other meals they weren’t as delicious, but still tasty.Breakfast included 1/2 c vanilla greek yogurt, 1/2 c cottage cheese, frozen blueberries, and a crumbled muffin, and a tiny bit of peanut butter.

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And I sipped hot green tea with mango flavoring.

Lunch was a turkey sandwich with honey mustard, lettuce, and tomato + some carrots for crunch.

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I brought the fuji apple, but with three minutes left of my lunch break I decided I did not have time to eat it.  I may eat it in a second. 

On my car ride over to the gym I had a Kind Bar that has been sitting in my purse pocket for a couple weeks now.

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Today’s workout started with 10 minutes on the elliptical.  I then did 30 minutes of weight training as some manly man grunted loud enough for the entire gym to hear.  Several people made comments.  One guy passed me and commented something along the lines of “He’ll be okay, it is just labor and delivery taking place.”  What!?! Lol.  But seriously, if that guy needs to make all that noise then lower the friggin weight already.  I ended my session with 15 minutes on the stair stepper.  And that thing is killer!!  I was a huffing and a puffing as though it were 2 years ago and I never worked out a day in my life.  I’m definitely going to pick that up more for cardio days.  I could feel the sweat and the burn, which is a good thing.  It feels good to be back! 🙂