Worst Things About Chocolate

Sorry, but filling your sweetie up with gross additives and tons of nutrient-deficient calories doesn’t sound so sexy to me does it sound sexy to you? Although it’s true that dark chocolate is full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants and has been shown to provide mental and cardiovascular benefits, these bonuses don’t extend to the low-quality candies you mindlessly pick up in a drugstore on your way home from work.

It may appear like a well-intentioned gesture, but your loved one isn’t going to be happy with you once they read these nasty facts about certain Valentine’s Day candies. My vote that you stick to the flowers, spa treatments, and homemade cards instead.

Most of It Is Made With Alkalized, or “Dutch,” Chocolate

cocoa spice

Cocoa powder is naturally acidic, and this can be a major flavor turnoff for many people’s palates. Thus, most American candy manufacturers process their cocoa with alkali, a process known as alkalizing or “Dutch processing” the chocolate. This results in a more mild-tasting, neutral cocoa. There’s just one problem: this technique significantly reduces levels of the main antioxidant that lends its anti-inflammatory properties to chocolate. And when we say significantly, I’m talking a nearly 90 percent decrease in these flavanols, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. So don’t try to justify another piece by referencing chocolate’s known benefits.


Sorry, but Chocolate Is Probably Not an Aphrodisiac

couple in bed sad

Unless you’re eating super dark chocolate, which may help turn you on, don’t rely on that box of wax-coated chocolates to be a libido-booster. Most factory-made chocolates are low in the antioxidants that can increase your energy and sexual desire, and chocolate isn’t the magical aphrodisiac we think it is. In fact, according to a 2006 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, when adjusted for age, women who reported high chocolate consumption had similar levels of sexual desire and satisfaction than those who reported low chocolate consumption.


White Chocolate Is Barely Even Chocolate

various chocolates

White chocolate is a little like white, refined flour: they’re both over processed and devoid of nutrients. The only “chocolate” part of white chocolate is cocoa butter (the rest of the treat is milk solids, milk fat, and a sweetener), and even that ingredient typically loses any traces of antioxidant properties during a “deodorizing” step. Without the dark cocoa solids, white chocolate doesn’t contain any antioxidant flavanols or gut-healthy prebiotics, which help reduce inflammation and fight weight gain. It also lacks the ability to stimulate the euphoria-inducing chemicals that real chocolate does, including serotonin.


Chocolate Triggers Loss of Consumption Control

godiva chocolate heart valentines box

Don’t worry, you’re not alone in feeling out of control when gifted a chocolate box. It’s a combination of construction and the nature of chocolate itself. First, the variety of flavors entices you to try each one and eat more than you had planned. Second, the combination of sugar and cocoa in chocolate make it hard to stop yourself from going back for seconds. According to a 2011 Drexel University study, this dynamic duo is extremely addictive, and just tasting chocolate can trigger feelings of euphoria, just like addictive drugs can. As a result, you may feel a loss of control when gifted with a box. Even if a food is considered healthy, portion control is still key.


You May Get a Stomachache

woman holding stomach

You didn’t plan for this to happen, but as we just explained, it’s almost too easy to overeat those creamy chocolates. Whether it’s because they’re bite-size, downright delicious, or we get caught up in the holiday-esque moment of Valentine’s Day, many of us can miss certain satiety cues that we’ve eaten enough. As a result, you could suffer from the post-overindulgence stomach ache of pain, gas, and indigestion.


You Might Experience Acid Reflux if You Eat Too Much

man holding chest in pain

It’s unfortunate but true. Chocolate is one of a group of foods that causes your lower esophageal sphincter (a muscle that normally works to keep the acid down in the stomach) to relax. As a result, it causes the acidic stomach contents to travel back upwards and gives you a burning sensation in your chest, aka heartburn. It’s all thanks to two compounds in chocolate, caffeine, and theobromine, which weaken your lower esophageal sphincter. Something tells me having chest pains wasn’t on your checklist of sexy V-day activities.


You’re Eating More Sugar Than Chocolate

sugar spoon

After looking at all the popular Valentine’s Day candy sold in drug stores, we found that the average serving size of chocolate contains over 21 grams of sugar. Although serving sizes range from one piece to three, when I took a look at nutritional information per gram of candy, most pieces of chocolate were made up of more than 50 percent sugar. In other words, you’re eating more sugar than you are chocolate. That’s not so sweet if you ask us.


High-Sugar Chocolates Can Harm Your Immunity

sugar sick valentines

Since chocolate is so bitter, manufacturers love adding sugar to it. But sometimes, they go a bit overboard. Consider this: If you eat just 10 pieces of Ghirardelli’s Dark & Strawberry squares (three times the recommended serving size, but hey, it could happen), you’ll be consuming just shy of 100 grams of sugar. It sounds extreme, but a 2015 study found that consuming this amount of sugar could drastically decrease the number of white blood cells (your immune system’s first responders) in your body. Even if you don’t eat a whopping 100 grams in a single sitting, just eating the three squares will set you back 29 grams of sugar or 58 percent of your recommended daily intake of added sugars per day. Too much of the sweet stuff can lead to issues that range from dental cavities to insulin resistance and metabolic disease.


You’ll Consume a Lot of Calories

woman eating chocolate bar

Thanks to being high in fat and sugar, chocolate is usually very high in calories. And you know the drill: eat more calories than you burn and you can pack on the pounds. That being said, one day of indulgence isn’t likely to break your clean-eating streak.


You May Be Consuming a Carcinogen

palm fruit oil

Palm oil, a vegetable oil that contains mostly saturated fats but also polyunsaturated fats, comes from the palm fruit. Although a well-researched 2015 review published in the journal World Journal of Cardiology found that palm oil can be consumed as part of a healthy, balanced diet without concern of its limited effects on cholesterol levels, a different conclusion was reached by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA, similar to the U.S.’s FDA). In May 2016 and after reviewing a study published in the world-renowned journal Nature earlier that year, the organization claimed that palm oil “generated more of a potentially carcinogenic contaminant [palmitic acid] than other vegetable oils when refined at temperatures above 200 degrees Celsius.” The EFSA did not recommend consumers to stop eating it—yet—and are now looking into the potential risks.


Or a Banned Substance

chocolate candies

A few V-day heart-shaped boxes (like those from Russel Stover and Elmer) still list partially hydrogenated oil (PHO) among their long list of artificially-manipulated ingredients. In this case, you can see the heart-shaped box as a sign that you should watch your heart health. PHO is a type of man-made trans fat that the FDA has banned from being used in our food beginning in 2018.


You’re Not Eating Quality

hershey chocolate valentines day triple

If your standards are high for your partner, you should at least maintain those high standards for the candy you’re about to gift him or her. Candies like York Peppermint Patty Hearts and Hershey’s XOXO bars contain an ingredient called PGPR in their bite-size candy bars. Instead of using high-quality cocoa butter as a fat and emulsifier, lower-grade candy bars use PGPR (Polyglycerol polyricinoleate): a yellowish, viscous liquid of fatty acids. It’s cheaper to manufacture the candy with this ingredient than to use the real stuff, so the quality gets sacrificed for quantity in this situation. 


You Could Be Eating Insects or Mouse Poop and Hair

mouse eating

Excuse my language, but yes, the FDA actually allows mouse poop in your food—although, they do use a pretty scientific term for it, “mammalian excreta.” According to their guidelines, trace amounts of the brown stuff, up to 10 mg per pound, can be found in cocoa beans. At least you can take solace in knowing there are over 450,000 milligrams in a pound, so that’s a very small fraction. Additionally, you’re only allowed a single rodent hair per 100 grams. That’s comforting—I guess. Want to be grossed out even more? The FDA has a pretty lax upper limit on insect pieces: 60 insect pieces per 100 grams of chocolate. Apparently, an average chocolate bar contains 8 insect parts. Yuck. Part of this gross fact makes sense, though, since cocoa beans are harvested and then fermented on-site outside in large wooden vats.


Your Sugar-Free Chocolate Can Be a Laxative

bathroom stall

Think you’re safe having just one more of those sugar-free chocolates? Think again. Because chocolate is already high in calories thanks to the energy-dense cocoa butter or vegetable oils added to emulsify the cacao solids into a creamy bar, many manufacturers opt to include zero-calorie sweeteners like maltitol. When eaten in excess (which can be likely when you think a food is “healthier” for you since it doesn’t have sugar), this sugar alcohol effectively acts as a laxative and can cause stomach pain, excessive internal gas, and flatulence. That just put a damper on your night.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section. If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Bloglovin’ :Amanda Explains It

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Poshmark: AmandaLei

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Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

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How To Use Leftover Candy Canes

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 20! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 18 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-19

*I realized that my #blogmas days had repeated tagged posts and that not every post was linked. I caught the mistake and fixed it. Every link should now be clickable and days 1-18 are now linked. If you are new to #blogmas you can catch up below.

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7 Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10 Blogmas Day 11 Blogmas Day 12 Blogmas Day 13 Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15  Blogmas Day 16 Blogmas Day 17 Blogmas Day 18  Blogmas Day 19


Twinkling lights, the smell of Christmas trees, and Winter Cocktails are among the most welcomed delights of the season,(Besides all the good holiday related junk food) 🙂 Oh, and let’s not forget candy canes—who doesn’t love,  love those! Which is why we stock up on the stuff the one time each year every store seems to carry them. But buying 10+ boxes of the minty, sweet treat has a downside: the leftovers ( you would only have that many boxes if you put candy canes on your Christmas tree)? There are often buckets worth—even after they’ve been hung on the tree, stuffed in everyone’s stocking, and fastened to all of your holiday cards. Sound like your yearly struggle? Rest easy; I’ve got you covered with some great candy cane crafts and recipes.


Spike Your Whipped Cream With It

Whipped cream

Shutterstock

Whether you’re dolloping it over fruit, a bowl of ice cream, or into your latte, whipped cream can benefit from a minty makeover. Whip your own cream and sprinkle the swirled candy bits at the end before using it as a creamy topping.


Make Candy Cane Pops

Candy cane oreo pops

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Insert decorative sticks into Oreo creme, dip the Oreo into melted white chocolate, and then coat with crushed candy canes for the perfect holiday treat you haven’t thought of making yet. The subtle vanilla flavor of the cookie met with the refreshing zing of peppermint will make a sweet snack the whole gang will love.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna


 No-Bake Chocolate Candy Cane Truffles

Chocolate candy cane truffles

Courtesy of Your Cup of Cake

Use leftover candy canes by crafting decadent truffles dusted with the wintry sweet. This recipe starts with cream cheese, peppermint extract, and chocolate base before it’s refrigerated until set and then rolled in the crushed candies for added color and flavor. You can even wrap these cute little treats in cellophane and gift to your best pals.

Get the recipe from Your Cup of Cake.


Make Minty Marshmallows

Marshmallows in a bowl

Shutterstock

You’ll need to top off your hot cocoa with a giant marshmallow, but why settle for store-bought when you can easily make your own? Start with food genius Alton Brown’s marshmallow recipe on Food Network, and then dust the crushed candy canes on top of the ‘mallows before cutting them into perfect squares. You can even gift leftovers to friends and family.


Napkin Holders

Candy cane on plate

Shutterstock

Rather than opting for your usual holiday napkin rings, use twisted candy canes instead. If you have any leftover candies that are still intact, try hooking the arch over the middle of a rolled-up napkin before placing on your holiday table for some festive flair.


Bake Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes

Chocolate candy cake cupcake

Courtesy of Your Cup of Cake

All you need is a quick devil’s food cake mix and a few other pantry staples to create a rich chocolate cupcake that serves as a perfect base to peppermint frosting. Psst: the frosting is 100 percent homemade, so you know it’ll be just as delicious on its own as over the cupcake. This recipe calls for adorning the frosting with crushed candy canes for a delectable and decorative twist.

Get the recipe from Your Cup of Cake.


 Chocolate Snowflake Candy Canes

Chocolate snowflake candy canes

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Got some extra candy canes that aren’t broken? Continue ringing in Christmas spirit by whipping up these white chocolate snowflake candy canes. All you have to do is dip half of the candy cane stick into a mixture of white chocolate chips and shortening before sprinkling over some white pearl and snowflake sprinkles and allowing them to cool and harden. Yum!

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna


Craft Candy Cane Oreo Pudding Cups

Candy cane oreo pudding cups

Courtesy of Lil Luna

These cute little pudding cups are perfect for entertaining or a cozy night in. All you need is a white chocolate pudding mix, candy cane Oreos, candy cane bits, and Cool Whip. Then, you layer all of your ingredients into mini cups and voila!

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna.


 Bath Scrub

candy cane scrub

Shutterstock

Instead of eating your leftovers, use them to make a candy cane-infused scrub. To make a batch, pour four cups of white sugar, one cup of olive oil (or another non-comedogenic oil with a similar consistency), a few drops of peppermint essential oil, and a quarter cup of finely ground candy canes into a mixing bowl. Then stir it up!


Bake Peppermint Sugar Cookies

Peppermint sugar cookies

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Sugar cookies are great on their own, but any tried-and-true classic can use a little makeover from time to time. These sugar cookies benefit from a thick vanilla frosting that’s bejeweled with candy cane pieces.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna.


Bake Peppermint Brownies

Peppermint brownies

Courtesy of Lil Luna

Everyone (well, almost) loves the combo of mint and chocolate, and these peppermint brownies embrace the duo to the fullest extent. Warm, fudgy brownies are met with an invigorating crushed candy topping that adds crunch and texture.

Get the recipe from Lil’ Luna


Reindeer Ears on Cookies

Candy canes in glass

Shutterstock

Nothing marks the beginning of the holiday season better than the grocery store invasion of peppermint-themed treats. That’s why we’re loving the idea of decorating homemade holiday desserts with the candy.


 Candy Cane Soap

candy cane soap

Shutterstock

In the mood to channel your inner Martha Stewart? Whip up some homemade candy cane soap! (It’s easy to make—promise!) Start by melting a block of clear glycerin and a block of white glycerin in separate bowls. Then, mix in red food dye and peppermint essential oil into the clear glycerin. (A few drops of each work.) After that, pour a thin layer of the melted white glycerin into a cake mold or small pan and let it sit for about two to three minutes. After it’s somewhat solid, pour a layer of the red glycerin on top and then continue alternating with the red and white glycerin every few minutes until the mold or pan is filled. Then top off your soap with a generous coating of crushed candy cane, which is a great exfoliant.


Throw Back a Candy Cane Cocktail

Shutterstock

If you’re looking to up your bartending game, forgo serving up basic drinks like spiked eggnog and opt for surprising your guests with a round of candy cane vodka shots. Luckily, you only need three things to prepare this festive elixir: candy canes, a small bottle of vodka (about 25 ounces), and a coffee grinder or food processor. Here’s what you need to do: grind 12 candy canes until they’re eroded into superfine crystals. Then, pour the candy powder into the bottle of vodka, make sure the cap is tightly screwed, and shake away! (You can even save some of the crushed candy to rim the glasses with later on!) Then, let the vodka sit for a half hour, shaking every now and then. Once the liquid is candy-cane-red, serve it up in shot glasses or a sleek martini glass.


Peppermint Hot Cocoa

candy cane hot cocoa

Shutterstock

This winter, spruce up your favorite hot beverage with some minty goodness! To make a mug of decadent hot cocoa, add one cup of your milk of choice into a saucepan with two ounces bittersweet chocolate, and simmer over low heat. Once the chocolate is melted, add one tablespoon sugar and a ½ teaspoon peppermint extract to the pot and stir. Once it’s all dissolved, pour it into your fave mug, swirl on some whipped cream, and then garnish the top with crushed candy canes. If you prefer taking the easier route with premade hot cocoa mix, choose my best Hot Chocolate.


 Peppermint Popcorn

peppermint bark popcorn

Courtesy of Cooking Classy

What’s better than binge-watching all of the Home Alone movies in one sitting? The answer: having a big bowl of peppermint popcorn beside you! Spike your popped kernels with a layer of melted white chocolate and some candy cane crumble. Oh, and you might want to whip up an extra batch because you’re totally not going to want to share this!

Get the recipe from Cooking Classy


Crack Fudge Peppermint Bark

peppermint bark

Shutterstock

Give your gingerbread cookie and peanut butter blossom recipes a break, and concoct a batch of crunchy peppermint bark instead. The best part—aside from the taste? It’s beyond easy to make. All you have to do is melt dark chocolate, slather it onto a sheet of parchment paper, and let it solidify in the fridge. Once it’s hardened, drizzle on a layer of melted white chocolate and then drop a handful or two (or three… no one’s looking!) of candy cane chunks for fresh flavor and a festive pop of color. Easy peasy!


Try Pink Peppermint Bark Macarons

Pink peppermint bark macarons

Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

Besides croissants, macarons are the next best thing the French bestowed on us. Give your favorite fancy dessert a wintry twist by adding crushed candy canes into the creamy ganache.

Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.


Rim Glasses With Candy Canes

Green holiday cocktail

Shutterstock

Remember that martini we suggested shaking up and that hot cocoa recipe you jotted on your list? Well, if these two beverages have anything in common, it’s that you can easily jazz them up by rimming the glass or mug with crushed candy canes. Just pulverize the candies in the blender, use your finger to coat the rim with a syrup (like maple syrup) and dip into the crushed candy.


Scoop Into Homemade Nice Cream

candy-cane-ice-cream

Shutterstock

Adapt your favorite nice cream recipe into a delicious, holiday-approved dessert by sprinkling crushed candy canes into the blender. Whether you choose to go with banana and cocoa mix or a traditional vanilla bean dessert, you’ll want to scoop it into a cone and toss some candy canes on top for a refreshing twist on rainbow sprinkles.


Bake Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Death by chocolate peppermint cookies

Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

If you love devil’s food cake, you’re gonna love this recipe idea. All you have to do is bake up a decadent chocolate cookie, dip it in dark chocolate, sprinkle it with some crushed peppermint candies, and drizzle with white chocolate. The minty peppermint will help cut the richness of the dark chocolate.

Get the recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.


Make Homemade Thin Mints

Peppermint bark cookies

Courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

Instead of unwrapping a thin mint, try DIYing your own this holiday season. The chocolate sugar cookies are super easy to make, and they come out of the oven extra thick while the white chocolate coating gets a double dose of peppermint from the extract and crushed candies.

Get the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.


Make a Minty Milkshake

Candy cane chocolate milkshake

Shutterstock

Got a tub of vanilla ice cream, milk, and leftover candy canes? Blend the three ingredients into the best milkshake ever. You can even add some unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolatey boost and garnish the cup with a mint leaf. Mmm!


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.

Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

The Best Christmas Products That Come Out Every Year

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 19! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 18 Days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-18

*I realized that my #blogmas days had repeated tagged posts and that not every post was linked. I caught the mistake and fixed it. Every link should now be clickable and days 1-18 are now linked. If you are new to #blogmas you can catch up below.

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6 Blogmas Day 7 Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10 Blogmas Day 11 Blogmas Day 12 Blogmas Day 13 Blogmas Day 14  Blogmas Day 15  Blogmas Day 16 Blogmas Day 17 Blogmas Day 18

 


Just because you can’t always bring yourself to say “no” to the limited-edition gingerbread cookies and holiday candy you see at the store, it doesn’t mean your belly must start resembling Santa’s. It’s totally possible to get in the spirit of the season while maintaining your trim waistline; you just need to know which packages to grab and which ones to leave at the grocery store.

Since no one wants to spend time reading nutrition panels in the supermarket’s overcrowded holiday section (seriously, it’s a scary place to linger), I’ve done all of the research for you. Commit some of my top picks to memory so you can get in and out of the store unscathed. Or better yet, snag them online!


LÄRABAR Snickerdoodle & Gingerbread

 

Nutrition: 1 bar, 190 calories 8-9 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0-30 mg sodium, 25 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 17-18 g sugar, 4 g protein

Thanks to Larabar, you can finally indulge in your favorite holiday cookie flavors without a massive sugar rush. While there are 17 to 18 grams of the sweet stuff per bar, the sugar is all the naturally occurring kind from things like dates and raisins. Plus, these things are beyond tasty—nab ‘em while you still can!


Birch Benders Gingerbread Spice Pancake Mix

 

Nutrition: 1/4 cup mix (two 4” pancakes), 120 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 390 mg sodium, 26 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 3 g protein

While this ginger-infused pancake mix is a bit high in sugar, thanks to the addition of cassava starch there’s a bit fiber and protein, too. To even the fiber to sugar ratio a bit further, go light on the syrup and top your hotcakes with finely chopped pecans or walnuts and enjoy a scrambled egg or two on the side.


Goldfish Fun Holiday Colors Baked Cheddar Crackers

 

Nutrition: 55 pieces, 140 calories 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 240 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 1 g fiber, <1 g sugar, 3 g protein

While these cute little crackers don’t offer much in terms of nutrition, they won’t do your body much harm, either. To give their tiny fish their vibrant holiday hues, Pepperidge Farms used things like turmeric extract and watermelon juice concentrate—not chemicals. With that in mind, this is definitely a salty snack that gets the green light. To boost its staying power of your snack, mix the fishies with some raw nuts and pair the mixture with a small piece of fibrous fruit.


KIND Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spice

Nutrition: 1 bar, 200 calories, 15 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 15 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 5 g protein

With so many delicious, low sugar bars on their roster, it’s easy to see why—and this seasonal snack is no exception. Flavors of hazelnuts, cashews, chocolate, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon join together to create a snack bar that will delight your taste buds while fueling your body right. Get a box for you and a second one to use as healthy stocking stuffers. The gift of health is one that everyone on your list is sure to love.


Enjoy Life Foods Gingerbread Spice Cookies

Nutrition: 2 cookies, 120 calories, 4 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 95 mg sodium, 20 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 1 g protein

The healthiest gingerbread you’ll have this season will likely be homemade. But in the packaged food realm, these come pretty darn close. Despite the fact that most of these cookies are filled with sugar (as is the case with almost every cookie), they still have less than 5 grams of the sweet stuff a pop—which is pretty impressive. I also love that Enjoy Life uses ingredients like millet and buckwheat flour to sneak in a bit of nutrition.


Tic Tac Christmas Candy Cane

Nutrition: 1 piece, 1.9 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg sodium, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein

Since you have to constantly chomp, gum can make your tummy bloat. I  rely on mints to freshen my breath. These super-cute candy cane Tic Tacs are sure to brighten your day and your smile every time you pop one into your mouth. And for less than 2 calories each, they can’t be beat—so long as you don’t down too many at once, at least.


BoomChickaPop White Chocolate Peppermint

Nutrition: 1 1/4 cup, 140 calories, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 75 mg sodium 18 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 1 g protein

Compared to things like candy and cookies, this peppermint and chocolate topped popcorn isn’t half bad. And the divine flavor makes it totally worth its not-exactly-low sugar count. This is definitely a must-try but probably not something you want to go back for seconds of.


Walkers Shortbread Festive Shapes Pure Butter Cookies

Nutrition: 2 pieces, 150 calories, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 85 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 2 g protein

The only things that go into these low-sugar cookies are wheat flour, butter, sugar, and salt making them an obvious Eat This!


Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea

Nutrition: 1 tea bag, 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein

The only thing better than a cup of belly fat-incinerating Tea? One that’s infused with orange peel, peppermint, cinnamon, and vanilla bean, that’s what! The super cute box is definitely a bonus, too. Just look at those bears hard at work in Santa’s workshop!


Califia Farms Pure Almond Milk Egg Nog

Nutrition: 4 fl oz, 50 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 90 mg sodium, 9 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 1 g protein

 It does have about fifty percent fewer calories than the typical eggnog, I can’t deny that eggnog in general just isn’t a great pick. Sip it if you must, but know that you’re better off eating your calories than sipping them.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can ALWAYS find my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me my from all of my links the I left below.

Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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How To Bake The Perfect Fruit Cake

Welcome back for #Blogmas Day 13! Blogmas Is flying right by! To catch up here are the links to the first 12 days of #Blogmas

Blogmas Days 1-12

Blogmas Day 1 Blogmas Day 2 Blogmas Day 3 Blogmas Day 4 Blogmas Day 5 Blogmas Day 6  Blogmas Day 7  Blogmas Day 8 Blogmas Day 9 Blogmas Day 10  Blogmas Day 11  Blogmas Day 12


Quick history lesson! Before your grandma graced the Christmas table with a fruitcake centerpiece, the ancient Romans shaped pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, barley mash, raisins, and honeyed wine into a fruitcake-like concoction they named “satura.” And according to the New York Times, the Romans’ sweet and sour satura cake actually inspired the word satire. Pretty cool, huh?

While most folks have a love-hate relationship with this treat, everyone can basically agree that it certainly embodies tradition. Boasting a slew of festive ingredients like dried or candied fruits, rum, and butter, many families’ Christmas dinners are incomplete without fruit cake for dessert. So, why not make it a hit with everyone at your table—even the skeptics—with these tips?


Swap Brandy

Brandy

While brandy’s hints of oak and plum notes marry well with the cake’s fruity sweetness, folks who aren’t too fond of the booze can definitely switch it up. If you fancy vino, opt for using red wine instead. Or if you want to keep your cake alcohol-free, feel free to use your favorite fruit juice.


Coat Your Mixins With Flour

Flour

Before you add your dried fruit and nuts to the batter, coat them in flour first. This will ensure that all the good stuff won’t sink to the bottom of the cake when it bakes—and it will leave your guests wondering how they shoveled in the perfect bite each time.


Use Quality Spices

Cinnamon Sticks

Since fruitcake is sometimes spiced with warm seasonings like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, you’re going to want to use the freshest spices possible to ensure your cake is worthy of a second helping.


Make Equal-Weight Substitutions

Dried Figs

If you’re not a fan of the candied fruit that traditional fruit cakes call for, you can totally swap it out for some yummier alternatives. We especially like golden raisins, cranberries, dates, and figs (Which are HIGH in potassium). If you’re swapping out any fruit or nuts, make sure you’re adding the same amount as the original recipe calls for. So if the OG recipe requires one cup of candied cherries and you’d prefer dried cranberries, substitute the cherries for the same weight (one cup, in this case) of crans.


Don’t Overfill The Pan

Overflowing cake

Make sure you’re filling your tins only two-thirds of the way with batter. Pouring past that mark can cause your fruitcake to overflow the rims of the baking dish—which means extra clean up time for you.


Set the Oven to the Perfect Temperature

Hand opening oven

Never bake your fruitcake at a temperature higher than 325 degrees Fahrenheit. (250 degrees to 325 degrees is best!) Baking your cake at a lower temperature ensures it will cook through evenly without drying out. To ensure it is done before you pop it out of the oven, insert a toothpick in the center of the cake. It should come out moist but not raw or doughy.


Keep Your Cake Moist

Applesauce and apples

Along with setting your oven to the right temperature to ensure your fruitcake doesn’t end up unpleasantly dry, try adding a cup of applesauce to the batter. And to further prevent your cake from drying out, keep a pan of hot water on a lower rack in the oven to add moisture while it bakes. Genius, right?!


Prevent It From Burning

Fruit Cake in baking pan

Since fruit cakes take their time to bake in the oven (about two and a half hours or more), line your baking pans with double layers of brown paper or waxed paper before you pour the batter; this will prevent the cakes from browning too much in the oven. Once it’s done, say hello to a perfectly moist and golden fruitcake!


Practice Portion Control

muffins

If you have trouble sticking to just one slice of the sweet stuff, opt for baking your fruitcake in muffin or cupcake tins for a perfectly portioned bite. Just remember to adjust the baking time; fruitcake muffins will take a shorter amount of time to bake. (You can use our toothpick trick mentioned above to test them.) 


Age it

Fruit cake

Just like good wine and cheese, a fruitcake must also age in order to reach its full potential. After your cake is baked and cooled, first wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap followed by foil paper, and then stick the entire thing in an airtight container. This will ensure that your fruitcake won’t take on any funky smells or flavors. Store it in a cool, dry place (not the fridge or freezer because the super low temperatures will halt the aging process, which you don’t want!) like your pantry or cupboard. I recommend aging your fruit cake for one to three months, if possible so that all of the ingredients marry well. In fact, with the right preservation methods and a quality air-tight container, an auction house was able to sell a 27-year-old fruitcake for $6,000!


If You’re Aging It…

Sliced Fruit cake

Make sure to also “feed it” every week. Feeding, or moistening the cake with alcohol, will ensure your cake ages properly and doesn’t go dry. (The alcohol is also the reason a fruitcake can last without going bad!) Simply coat the cake evenly so that you don’t end up with any soggy parts.

I like pouring the liquor of choice (from brandy to rum to whiskey or cognac) into spray bottles, poking evenly-spaced holes into the cake, and then spraying away. This will ensure the cake is evenly fed. Repeat this weekly. Speaking of booze, if you like to hit up cocktail parties and happy hours.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can also ALWAYS find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching or just looking for advice on how to jump-start a healthy lifestyle or how to stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links which are ALWAYS provided in the “Thank You” section and in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Poshmark: AmandaLei

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

The Best Store-Bought Taco Seasonings

The Best Store-Bought Taco Seasonings—Ranked!

Can we all agree that tacos are among our favorite go-to weekly meals? I wish Taco Tuesday could be every day of the week. It’s because tacos are so versatile, so easy to make, are a relatively well-balanced meal, and are the perfect default dinner whenever I don’t want to spend more than a minute thinking about what I want to cook. Plus, those flavorful packets of taco seasonings make taco night come together even more seamlessly. With a simple tear of a seam, you can transform any boring ground beef or chicken breast into a star protein you’d happily buy from your local Mexican restaurant.


Here’s How It Went Down.

I went to my local grocery store and picked up five of the most popular taco seasoning packets and two and a half pounds of ground beef, or a half a pound per packet. I made one large batch of ground beef and then split it into 5 servings.

To honor the brands, I seasoned each batch of ground beef according to each packet’s instructions—just cut in half (because each packet is intended for one pound of ground beef). Each packet recommends mixing the seasoning with a certain volume of water. We simply halved the amount of seasoning and water.

For McCormick and Ortega, we mixed half a packet of seasoning with 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons of water; for Bearitos and Old El Paso, we mixed the seasoning with 1/3 cup of water; and for Simply Organic, I mixed the half packet of seasoning with 1/4 cup of water. I brought each batch up to a boil and then down to a simmer for 3 minutes. Finally, time to taste test!


The results, listed from My Taste Tester least favorite to His favorite (the winner!).

Disclaimer: before I get into the rankings: all of these taco seasonings tasted very similar. My taste tester expressed some difficulty noting the differences between brands when he tasted the ground beef on its own, and it was nearly impossible to distinguish between brands when we paired the beef with a tortilla chip. I ultimately came to the conclusion that you can feel comfortable buying any of these taco seasoning packets to flavor your meat because they’re very similar in taste and all the toppings you’ll add to the tacos will really level the taste playing field.

Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix, 40% Less Sodium

Ortega taco seasoning mix 40 percent less sodium

It might be healthier because it’s lower in sodium, but testers agreed that this seasoning was the worst because it was very bland. The amount of seasoning and water needed made this meat look the most like cafeteria taco slop.


Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix, Original

Old el paso taco seasoning mix original

Although my tester agreed this flavoring was fairly underwhelming, he didn’t rank it last because there was a sense of familiarity in the flavors. While he likened it to Lunchables meat, another noted it tasted like “that yellow packet taco seasoning my mom used as a kid,” which was right on the money! He was surprised to find that their mom’s go-to seasoning didn’t quite stack up to the other blends once he tasted the other kinds.


Simply Organic Spicy Taco Seasoning Mix

Simply organic spicy taco seasoning mix

He agreed this was the most distinctive seasoning blend out of all five choices. That’s because it’s very spice-forward and leans toward the “spicy” side. While it was ranked mid-range for some who thought it to be a bit too powerful, others fawned over it and marked it as his top choice. Because it was pretty polarizing depending on your spice preference, it landed in his #2 number two spot.


McCormick Original Taco Seasoning Mix

Mccormick original taco seasoning mix

Now, the overall winner: McCormick! With flakes of garlic and a well-rounded flavor profile, tasters pleasantly chowed down on this taco meat. Not too spicy and not at all dull, this taco seasoning packet was just right. Grab the red packet in your grocery store to make your protein the perfectly-spiced canvas for all your favorite taco toppings.


 Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? Some take Taco Tuesday’s very seriously so I wanted to bring you something you can use or pass on to other taco lovers. I know it can be difficult to find a taco seasoning that you or your friends like. This list is based on a friend’s opinion who take his taco seasonings very seriously. For his taste test regular meat was used but if you are vegetarian and or vegan you can always use vegan “meat”. If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please don’t hesitate in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

 

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

 

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

Mistakes You Might Be Making When Cooking Chicken

Thank You!

Before I start today’s blog I want to say THANK YOU to the 100 of you that follow my blog. It means the world to me. With my blog Amanda Explains It, I ALWAYS aim to explain  Information about everything related to health, nutrition, fitness and anything else related to the world of “Diet” and exercise hence the Amanda Explains It. I hope you enjoy the content I have been putting out recently? Not only do I aim to bring you Informative Information I also try to bring any beginner Information for anyone that Is starting out on their fitness and nutrition journey. I know I always say this but If you have any questions about today’s post or any past post please don’t hesitate In reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Now on to today’s post.


Today I bring you a post about some mistakes that you could be making when it comes to cooking and buying chicken. When it comes to the health and nutrition world chicken is a common staple. When you’re a beginner you might not know where to start when it comes to buying, preparing or cooking chicken. When you’ve added chicken breast to your weekly meal rotation in efforts to boost your protein intake and slim down fast, poultry can get pretty boring—and fast. You’ve exhausted your spice cabinet’s flavor arsenal and even cracked open those enshrouded cookbooks. And to make matters worse, the new recipe you unearthed on the internet promised juicy results, but the actual outcome was far from it. Which brings you today’s post. If you are curious to know how to buy or cook chicken then please keep reading.




You Purchase Low-Quality Meat

Cooked chicken breastCommon Mistake: Any chicken dish is only as good as its parts. If you start with factory-farmed, frozen chicken, odds are good your meal will taste dry and won’t have as much flavor as it could.

Solution: Whenever possible, opt for organic, free-range, and locally produced chicken out of a fridge (instead of the freezer). These options are more likely to retain moisture and be packed with flavor.


You Buy Skinless Meat

Raw chicken breastsCommon Mistake: Sure, de-boned and de-skinned chicken may seem easier to cook. But when it comes to chicken, discarding the bones and skin is a lot like tossing the flavor in the trash.

Solution: If you’re concerned about the fat content of chicken skin, don’t fret: Experts at the Harvard School of Public Health maintain that these fats are the healthy, unsaturated kind. What’s more, because leaving on the skin helps the chicken retain moisture and flavor, you’re less likely to reach for other, perhaps less healthy, flavorings.

 


You Only Purchase Breasts

Common Mistake: Chicken breasts are easy to find, easy to cook, and hailed as one of the healthiest ways to consume chicken. But when you limit yourself to breasts every time you eat poultry, you’re missing out on a whole world of culinary satisfaction.

Solution: Don’t be afraid to experiment with thighs and wings in addition to breasts—you just might find yourself liking chicken a whole lot more. If you do experiment with different cuts of meat, don’t assume all cuts are created equal. Ideal cooking strategies vary depending on the cut involved, so do your research before firing up the stove or grill.


You Wash the Chicken

Woman washing chickenCommon Mistake: Rinsing off chicken prior to cooking it may seem like a good way to improve its hygiene, but food safety rules maintain that this actually makes contamination more likely to occur.

Solution: The process of washing chicken spreads potentially harmful bacteria onto your sink and countertops, and it’s unlikely to serve any real benefit. So skip the chicken rinse and move on.


You Skip Drying the Chicken

Chicken breastCommon Mistake: While it may not be a good idea to wash chicken, it is a good idea to dry it out. This may sound counterintuitive; after all, nobody likes to eat dry meat (get your mind out of the gutter.)

Solution: Most people do like the outside of their chicken to have a lovely brown crisp—and that’s only achievable when you start with a dry bird. For the best results, allow the meat to air-dry outside of any packaging for a few hours in the fridge. Then remove it from the fridge and pat it dry with paper towels right before cooking.



You Thaw Chicken on the Counter

Frozen chicken breastCommon Mistake: Rare is the home chef who hasn’t tried this approach to meat thawing, but here’s why you should avoid it: Room temperatures provide a warm breeding ground for all sorts of potentially harmful bacteria. And because the outside of the meat is likely to thaw faster than the inside, this means the outside will be vulnerable to these bacteria for much of the time that the inside is still thawing.

Solution: To avoid this issue, consider thawing the chicken overnight in the fridge. Or place it in a plastic bag and submerge that bag in cold water. (Just be sure to replace the water often so temperatures in the bowl never rise to room temp.)



You Ignore Other Food Safety Practices

Marinating chickenCommon Mistake: I’ve already covered a few food safety practices, but several more deserve the attention of anyone who’s cooking chicken at home. In the spirit of better food safety, make sure that you never place cooked meat on a plate that was used to hold raw meat ( I know this one seems like common sense but trust me I can’t tell you how often people put cooked meat on the same plate as raw meat and If you think about it BBQs you see It the most.) You should also avoid letting chicken rest on the counter while it marinates.

Solution: Place the chicken in the fridge to marinate instead. Don’t use the same marinade that was used on raw chicken to marinate other foods. Avoid undercooking the meat. Always wash your hands before and immediately after handling raw meat.


You Cook Chicken Breasts Without Tenderizing Them

Meat tenderizerCommon Mistake: We all know it’s critical to tenderize a steak before cooking it, but fewer people realize it’s just as important to pound out chicken breasts before tossing them into a pan.

Solution: Pounding chicken is good for several reasons: It helps tenderize the meat, it reduces cooking time (which can minimize the risk of overcooking), and it makes it easier to achieve an even cook. For best results, make sure the breasts are an even thickness; aim for approximately half an inch. Not in the mood for pounding? Consider butterflying the bird instead.


You Cook the Meat Right Out of the Fridge

Chicken with skinCommon Mistake: You’re starving when you get home, so you take the defrosted chicken out of the fridge and cook it immediately.

Solution: While it’s true that you don’t want to let the meat sit around on the counter for ages before cooking it, it is a good idea to let the thawed meat sit out of the fridge for 15 minutes or so prior to cooking it up. This will help ensure that the inside and outside of the meat is generally the same temperature, which increases the chances that the chicken will cook evenly.


You Overcrowd the Pan

Common Mistake: Ever found yourself with not enough space to cook the chicken breast? In a desperate attempt to speed up the process, you shove all the chicken into one skillet hoping it all fits. Reminding us all of this common blunder. What ends up happening is the meat cooks unevenly due to being overcrowded. Additionally, overcrowding can cause your chicken to steam rather than help it get that nice caramelized-brown sear.

Solution: Thankfully, there’s a quick fix that can salvage your dinner plate of undone meat. While Sidoti suggests starting with a wide frying pan that helps keep splattering to a minimum, Wolf has another solution that will come in handy if you’re already mid-process. “When you run into space issues, make sure to give each piece of chicken enough room to cook. Meat needs the heat rising from all sides in order to fully cook. Just grab another skillet or wait for the chicken already cooking to finish,” Wolf tells us. “Better to have fully cooked chicken than not!

 


You Disregard Temperature

Marjoram chicken

Common Mistake: A lot of recipes give you an approximate time for cooking chicken dishes, so it’s reasonable to assume that time is the most important factor.

Solution: A meat thermometer is the only tool that can give you true confidence that the meat is fully cooked. Chicken should be cooked to 165ºF; to test it, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat (without touching a bone). Try to avoid cooking the meat beyond this temperature, because that’s a surefire way to have dry meat on your hands.


You Don’t Let the Juices Do Their Thing

carving tukey

Common Mistake: I get It, you’re hungry! But forgetting to practice patience can cost you a perfectly roasted chicken.

Solution: Don’t rush to carve that chicken right after you’ve taken it out of the oven. Not only is it too hot to handle, but letting it rest for about 15 minutes will allow the juices time to redistribute.

 


You’re Impatient

Flipping chicken on grill

Common Mistake: When grilling chicken, finding the right time to flip is essential! If you flip too early, then you end up ripping off the top layer of the caramelized meat.

Solution: The best way to prevent this is twofold: First, have a clean grilling surface. When cooking chicken, make sure that the residue from the previous cooking session is cleaned off, which will prevent the chicken from sticking. Secondly, wait for the chicken to naturally release. When you first place the meat on the grill, it will stick from the heat, but after a while, it will slowly create an outside crusted layer. This layer will release from a clean grill grate at the right time.


Moving the Chicken Around the Pan

Common Mistake: Moving the chicken around the pan too often is like pressing the elevator button again and again. Doing either won’t get you results any faster!

Solution: If you want a nice sear, try not to move the chicken for about 5 to 7 minutes once in the pan. If the chicken is sticking, it’s probably not ready and won’t be golden brown. Also, try to avoid over-flipping. Turn it once and don’t touch again for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Again, the goal is golden brown color on each side.


You Cook the Breast Whole

Butterfly slice chicken breast

Common Mistake: Chicken breasts can be a pretty thick piece of meat. Not only can they be up to two inches thick, but they can also be very thin at the other end. Because of the uneven thickness, the chicken will cook through at different rates, leaving you with overcooked chicken on one end and cooked (or even undercooked) meat on the other end.

Solution: To prevent uneven cooking, you can do one of two things. One option is to butterfly your breast. Carefully place your hand on the top of the breast and apply light pressure. Starting at the thickest part of the breast, take a sharp knife at the middle of the meat and begin to slide the knife down the breast until you’ve cut the fillet in half. You can either leave one edge of the meat connected (at which point if you opened up the sliced meat into one piece it would look like a butterfly), or you can separate the fillet entirely. A second option is to pound the breast meat until it’s entirely even. You can do this with a full breast or even with your sliced meat. 


Eat the Meat Right Off the Heat

Chicken breasts cooked

Common Mistake: The chicken is the perfect 165ºF, and you’re ready to eat! So you take the chicken off the stove or grill and start chowing down.

Solution: If there’s one thing all chefs can agree on, it’s this: No matter how tasty chicken might look right off the grill or out of the pan or oven, it’s important to let it rest for a bit before you dive in. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, which helps ensure a moister eating experience. Tent the chicken with some foil and let it rest for approximately 15 minutes before eating.


You Store It Anywhere in the Fridge

Meal prep containers

Common Mistake: So you’ve cooked your meat perfectly and you have some leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch: great! There’s just one caveat: Don’t toss the leftovers into some Pyrex and cram the container into the fridge wherever you find room.

Solution: Instead, it’s better to store chicken on the lowest shelf in the fridge. This is helpful for two reasons: For starters, cold air sinks—which means the lowest shelf is likely to be cooler than higher shelves (so it’s your best bet in terms of storing meat safely). Additionally, placing leftovers on the bottom shelf minimizes the risk of meaty juices dripping onto other items in your fridge.


You Throw Away the Bones

Bone broth in bowl

Common Mistake: If you opted for bone-in chicken, it seems reasonable to toss those bones in the trash.

Solution: But when you throw away the bones, you’re missing out on an opportunity to repurpose the bones into delicious and nutritious bone brothBone broth may improve nutrient absorption, relieve joint and cartilage pain, and even help cure a hangover—so put those chicken bones to good use instead of tossing them.

Tip: And If you are Keto then this will be the perfect opportunity to use the bones for homemade keto friendly bone broth


Final Thoughts

Again, I just want to say thank you to everyone that took the time to follow my blog It means the world to me! As I continue to learn all new things happening in the world of health, fitness, nutrition, and exercise I will continue to bring you the most up-to-date information. I hope you enjoyed today’s blog? And like always If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️


➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

Natural Sweeteners

I’ll be honest I try to limit artificial sweeteners as much as possible. When doing Keto you kinda have to rely on artificial sweeteners when you are baking. In my humble opinion, I think our bodies are much better off If we used more “real” Sweeteners. Today I will discuss a few Natural Sweeteners.

                                           Honey

honey-823614_1280Honey: If I buy honey I buy local raw honey from local farmers. This supports your local beekeepers and I am all about supporting local farmers as much as I can.

Date Sugar

Date Sugar: You can buy It from your local natural food store or you can make your own by baking whole dates. Dates are good for natural sweeteners In baking recipes. I use Dates when I make my homemade almond milk. And I use dates when I am “baking” a raw vegan recipe. 

Stevia

stevia-74187_1280When you reach for Stevia make sure there are no other Ingredients added. You are looking for 100% Steviol Glycosides. My favorite Is SweetLeaf Stevia.

Coconut Sugar

Coconut Sugar: You can buy It In liquid form called coconut nectar. If you suffer from Insulin resistance or If you suffer from Diabetes this Is a good option because Coconut nectar has a Low Glycemic Index. (Always consult your doctor with any questions you may have.)

Maple Syrup

maple-2232088_1280Maple Syrup: Maple Syrup Is packed with antioxidants and has a GI read of 50. If you want to reach for Maple Syrup always go for Pure Canadian

Molasses

Molasses: It comes In liquid form. Molasses Is good for when you are baking Pies like Pecan Pie or Shoo Fly Pie.

And one of my all-time favorites Is monk fruit sweetener. It Is a bit pricey for what you get but trust me a little goes a long way. When looking for monk fruit look for a high % of mongrosides (A mogroside is a chemical compound, and constitutes a glycoside of cucurbitane derivatives. They are found in certain plants, such as the fruit of the gourd vine luo han guo (Siraitia grosvenorii) 

Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content  I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me.

                      Where you can follow me

Check me out on Medium: There I post things that I typically won’t post here.

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Instagram: coffee_glutenfree

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chia Seed Pudding

The one thing about being on Keto Is that we aren’t deprived. Honestly, since starting Keto I thought what about desserts? I have a sweet tooth and I like knowing I have a sweet treat on hand when the craving strikes. I am a seasoned baker In all different diet areas. I know how to bake for Paleo, Vegan.Gluten Free, Vegetarian, and Atkins. Now I am learning how to bake Keto friendly desserts. For those of you who are new to my blog, I have food allergies and sensitivities. So baking sweet treats that are Keto friendly and safe for me to consume have been trial and error.

 Chia Seed Pudding Is so easy and only requires a few Ingredients most of them you probably already have. When I was Vegan I use to use melt Vegan Milk Chocolate and make Chia Seed Pudding that way. The old way I use to make It would take a bit longer. Now I can make Chia Pudding In 15 minutes and 99% of the time Is spend you mixing It. For this Keto recipe, I used Hershey’s Dark Chocolate If you don’t like Dark Chocolate you can use whatever you like.

Here Is the Chocolate Powder I used

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4 Ingredient Keto Chia Pudding

You can change the Ingredients according to your preference and taste.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cup of Plant Milk (I used So Delicious Almond Milk again you can use whatever you like)

4 Tablespoons of Stevia (or any sweetener of your choice)

1 cup of Chia Seeds ( I like chia seeds hence the cup but you can always use 1/2 cup)

1/4 Cup of Hershey’s Cocoa Special Dark ( Use what you like)

Directions:

  1. Pour all the Ingredients Into a big bowl.
  2.  Mix for 15 minutes

20180422_131101 Pictured Is about 10 minutes worth of whisking. Don’t worry If It seems liquidy It will turn to pudding.

20180422_213526 This Is 15 minutes of whisking and as you can see It did turn Into a pudding!

3. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

TIP: You can add some low carb whip cream on top or you can add some fresh berries.

I hope you enjoy making this recipe. If you change anything or If you made It as It please let me know how It turned out.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Keep an eye out because I will be posting more Keto, Allergy Friendly, and Gluten Free recipes. I’m In the test kitchen phase now and as each recipe turns successful I will share It you my lovely subscribers. 

This Link Is an affiliate, however, I DO NOT make a commission If you buy anything.

AFFILIATE LINK —->katherineann.pruvitnow.com Or Katherineann.shopketo.com

Here Is an Instagram to a woman who Is Into fitness and WWE and knows a thing or 2 about keto. Here Is here Instagram pruvitwithkat

Here Is her Facebook Page: Katherine Serenbetz (@pruvitwithkat) There she posts everything from nutrition, recipes, at home workouts, and one on one consultation about your fitness and nutrition goals.

Low Carb Keto (Homemade) Pizza Sauce

Keto Pizza Sauce

The Best Damn Keto Mousse EVER! 

Keto Mousse

I do hope you stick around as I put out sometimes shitty content (SOMETIMES) other times I post educational, Informative things. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me.

Here some links to my Social Media Handles

Instagram: coffee_glutenfree

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

 

 

 

Keto Pizza Sauce

This Is an easy no-cook (just a few minutes to heat through) pizza sauce. This sauce has no sugar, no dairy and It’s Gluten Free. If you want to make this Into a “pasta” sauce all you have to do Is change the seasonings and add some type of “milk” to make It thicker If you like your sauce on the thicker side. I like my sauce thin so I add NO liquid at all.

I decided I would post this recipe because It’s for anyone who Is low carb and Keto and this sauce Is just too good not to share with all of you. The one thing I set out to do with being Keto Is that I want to show all of you (my lovely subscribers) that spending hours In the kitchen making homemade Sunday sauce Is the thing of the past.

You probably remember that any sauce you buy Is loaded with garlic, onions, and herbs and the taste still didn’t seem right. The recipe I came up with Is a combo of two different recipes to make this very tasty pizza sauce. This recipe can get but Into a high powered blender! I honestly never made sauce before going, Keto. Did I mention that this recipe Is also vegan and allergy friendly? Sorry If you have any allergies to the Ingredients In the picture. I made this sauce according to my food allergies and dietry needs.

                      The Stuff I Used For The Recipe

The seasonings you see are the ones I chose to use for this recipe. You can always change the seasonings according to your taste or preference. 

Ingredients

1 28 oz. can of Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes ( Or just peeled tomatoes)

1 Dash of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

2 Tbsp of Italian Seasoning ( Or to taste)

2 Tbsp of Garlic Powder ( Or to taste)

2 Tbsp of Seasoning Salt (Or to taste)

2 Tbsp of Garlic Seasoning (Or to taste)

1 Medium red onion (roughly chopped) (Optional)

With the Ingredients above EVERYTHING can be made to your specific taste. I personally like Garlic so I don’t mind the Garlic taste.

                             Directions

In your food processor blend the red onions until slightly mushy. Now In your blender add EVERYTHING! Blend until all the Ingredients are well combined. (OPTIONAL) If you want you can heat the pizza sauce over medium-low heat until bubbly. 

And that Is It. You now have yourself the perfect pizza sauce. I paired this recipe with a homemade pizza dip (I’ll post the recipe soon!) 

   What It Should Look Like When It’s Done

It should look like this If you decided to heat It up

20180419_130307

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Keep an eye out because I will be posting more Keto, Allergy Friendly, and Gluten Free recipes. I’m In the test kitchen phase now and as each recipe turns successful I will share It you my lovely subscribers. 

This Link Is an affiliate, however, I DO NOT make a commission If you buy anything.

AFFILIATE LINK —->katherineann.pruvitnow.com Or Katherineann.shopketo.com

Here Is an Instagram to a woman who Is Into fitness and WWE and knows a thing or 2 about keto. Here Is here Instagram pruvitwithkat

Here Is her Facebook Page: Katherine Serenbetz (@pruvitwithkat) There she posts everything from nutrition, recipes, at home workouts, and one on one consultation about your fitness and nutrition goals.

Yesterday’s Post (Keto Mousse) 

Keto Mousse

I do hope you stick around as I put out sometimes shitty content (SOMETIMES) other times I post educational, Informative things. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me.

Here some links to my Social Media Handles

Instagram: coffee_glutenfree

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

 

Bulletproof Coffee (Vegan,GF & Keto)

Today I bring you something cool. Bulletproof coffee. If you have been living under a rock then you already know that Bulletproof coffee has taken America by storm. Bulletproof coffee promises to Increase energy, help digestion, suppress appetite, and even help with metabolism. Bulletproof coffee started out In the Paleo community or even those who aren’t full Paleo or even Paleo at all.

What Is Bulletproof Coffee?

If you are unfamiliar with what bulletproof coffee Is I’m going to explain to you what It Is. It’s described as a clean way of drinking coffee without all the sugar and cream. Bulletproof Coffee Is non-toxic, pesticide-free, and herbicide free ( herbicide a substance that is toxic to plants and is used to destroy unwanted vegetation.) You are blending It with chain triglyceride ( chain triglycerides (MCTs) are partially man-made fats. The name refers to the way the carbon atoms are arranged in their chemical structure. MCTs are generally made by processing coconut and palm kernel oils in the laboratory. Usual dietary fats, by comparison, are long-chain triglycerides. People use MCTs as medicine.) Bulletproof Coffee Is best If consumed first thing In the morning and on an empty stomach or with a light breakfast.

The original Bulletproof coffee involves blending coconut oil a well-known superfood high In medium chain triglycerides. If you didn’t know the original bulletproof coffee calls for grass-fed butter. The healthy fats blended with the coffee help create satiety (the quality or state of being fed or gratified to or beyond capacity) ward off hunger, jump-start the metabolism, and can help the caffeine from coffee digest more slowly, which prevents insulin crashes often caused by caffeine Intake. 

I know It sounds too good to be true butter and all. If you are all for grass-fed butter In your coffee you do you and add that butter. I am not too keen adding butter of any kind to my coffee. I’m going to give you some tips on how to make Bulletproof Coffee Vegan and still beneficial just like the original.

Tips:

1) If you aren’t keen on using grass-fed butter or even vegan butter you can simply replace the butter with 1 tablespoon of organic coconut oil or non-organic depending on what you have. Also when looking for coconut oil make sure It’s cold pressed. By making sure your coconut oil Is cold-pressed you are avoiding pesticides and heating agents.

2) Another choice you can use In replace of butter Is coconut butter. I don’t use coconut butter mainly because It Is expensive. But It Is a good option If you are looking for a buttery taste to your coffee that leaves your coffee frothy. 

3) If you opt not to use coconut butter or any butter at all you can always add some heavy cream or some non-dairy cream. The coconut oil you add will still make your coffee frothy but by adding some type of creamer your coffee will be extra frothy.

I know you came here for the recipe and I’m about to give you the recipe. I just want to say sorry for adding some facts and getting sidetracked. I thought you would appreciate some facts before the recipe. 

Bulletproof Coffee Vegan, Gluten Free,& Keto

The Ingredients: 8 oz. of brewed coffee. ( I make 16 oz. because I love coffee)

1 Tbsp of coconut oil (or any type of butter you are using)

4 packets of stevia ( Or any keto, vegan or gluten-free sweetener of choice)

OPTIONAL: 3 dashes of Pumpkin Pie Spice

OPTIONAL: Creamer of choice

 DIRECTIONS: Blended the coffee and all of your Ingredients In a blender. Blend until nice and frothy. Pour Into your coffee mug and sprinkle some extra pumpkin pie spice as a garnish.

Use the pictures as a reference to what It should look like In the blender and I will post a picture of the Ingredients I use every day for my coffee. At the end of the post, I will tell you a little how I feel when I drink bulletproof coffee. 

The Ingredients I Use Every day For Bulletproof Coffee

20180420_125318

This Is What It Should Look Like While It’s Blending

20180420_130254

And This Is What It Looks Like When It’s Done Blending

 

20180420_130420

It’s nice and Frothy. When you pour It Into your mug the liquid will pour out first and then the froth. Don’t worry your coffee Is still nice and frothy on top. If you want you can add extra pumpkin pie spice I do. Pumpkin Pie Spice Is a good way to get flavor without extra carbs or calories. But like always you can add double the Ingredients If It fits your macros.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post?

Keep an eye out because I will be sharing tons of Keto recipes.

If you are Interested In joining the next Pruvit Keto Reboot The Affiliate Links will tell you when the next reboot starts.

This Link Is an affiliate, however, I DO NOT make a commission If you buy anything.

AFFILIATE LINK —->katherineann.pruvitnow.com Or Katherineann.shopketo.com

Yesterday’s Post (Keto Mousse) 

Keto Mousse

I do hope you stick around as I put out sometimes shitty content (SOMETIMES) other times I post educational, Informative things. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me.

Here some links to my Social Media Handles

Instagram: coffee_glutenfree

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)