Balance With Self · How do things work in my body? · My Life · review · vegan · vegetarian

Green Smoothie Challenge Update + BetterChip Review

Hello, My Glorious Sunshines! 😉

Thanks for all of your comments on my last post about the 7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge I joined. I’m so glad that a lot of you guys joined along with the fun too!

I’ve been having a whole lot of fun with the challenge these past couple days, and I thought I’d share how I’ve been doing so far, starting from where I started. 🙂


As soon as I heard about this challenge, I ran downstairs and made this lovely smoothie — simple but delicious.

My Easy Peasy Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 6 medium leaves of kale (washed and stems removed) – or as much or as little as you want
  • a small banana, sliced
  • 2 tbs ground flaxseed (optional)
  • 1 pkt. Stevia

I figured an easy and simple recipe would be a great way to start off. (And then start to branch out later throughout the week.) After drinking this lovely, I got an instant boost of energy! It may have been simple, but it was SO efficient. It was as if my body has been asking for it, and I just felt AMAZING! It really put me in a good mood and I got excited for what the rest of the week would hold.


I had been hanging out with one of my friends Tuesday morning when I started desiring a green smoothie. As it turned out they had never had a green smoothie before — I thought it’s be a great chance for them to try one. 😉 This time I went a little easier on the bitter greens (aka, more sweet). I like my smoothies to have a more mellower sweet taste, as having it TOO sweet turns out tasting artificial to me, but I knew as their first time having one it would be harder for them with the greens level I’m accustomed to.

My Flaxy Orange Green Smoothie

  • ¾ cup sweetened vanilla soy milk
  • 3 medium/small leaves of kale
  • ½ medium orange
  • 1 tbs ground flaxseed
  • ½ large banana

The ingredients are half of what I used total (as I made two servings). I loved it. 🙂 Their reaction?: “Not that bad!” Haha. I could tell it was really new for them, but I am proud of them for trying it. I’ll try it again on them again some another time, using spinach instead of kale (both of which are more mellow tasting greens, but spinach more so). I’ll see what I can do. 😉


I was in the mood to be a little creative with my smoothie. (And I was also in the mood for chocolate. ;)) So I rolled up my sleeves and got a little busy.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Green Smoothie

  • 10 fl. oz (1 ¼ cup) cold sweetened vanilla soy milk
  • 2 cups kale leaves (I washed them, removed the stems, and added the leaves to a measuring cup.) — Use as much or as little as you want.
  • 2 cups chopped strawberries (remove the green tops on if desired)
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • dash of cinnamon (optional)
  • stevia (as much or as little as you want)

I would suggest blending up the greens with the milk first before adding in the other ingredients. This helps make sure the greens are all blended up and the result with be smooth and creamy, not scattered with green pieces. This smoothie was a nice change to the regular kind of green smoothie. Chocolaty and just what I was craving. ❤


I had an open can of pumpkin puree in my fridge that I wanted to use up, so instead of just having a smoothie for lunch, I had one for breakfast as well. Not green mind you, but it still contains two servings of veggies. So I count it. 😉

My Vegan Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

(find the recipe HERE.)

Later on in the day (closer to lunchtime), I starting craving another smoothie. Iwas taken aback at first since I had just had a smoothie earlier that day for breakfast. But I then realized that my body was trying to tell me something. It was trying to tell me it was liking the green smoothies and all of the nutrients and phytochemicals and antioxidants it was getting through them and wanted more! So I followed its cue and whipped this beauty up.

My Green Grasshopper Smoothie

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 large stalk celery, sliced
  • 4 large leaves of collard greens
  • 1 pear, cored, sliced, and chopped with peal
  • ½ banana, sliced
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • stevia (optional. Use as much or as little as you want. I actually liked it better before I added it.)

My sister was with me when I prepared this smoothie – and when I’m with her I always find it easier to have a little fun here and there. (I smile all the time anyways, but it’s always nice to have a sister who doesn’t mind being a little crazy sometimes.) And I loved the light green color this lovely had, so I named it Green Grasshopper. (Yes, I do like to play with my food sometimes. ;)) In addition to the pumpkin purée I mentioned earlier, I had some celery in the fridge that I wanted to use. You know what – I couldn’t even taste it in this. I never would have known it was in there had I not added it myself! A quite delicious green smoothie. 😀

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow and the rest of the week will bring for me. I am really enjoying this 7-Day Challenge and I am really finding that my body does speak to me. It knows what it wants – what it needs. I can trust it. I can trust myself. That’s one of the greatest things I could ever wish for in a challenge like this.


The BetterChip company contacted me a few weeks ago asking if I would like to review their line of corn chips.

After I responded that I would love to, they quickly got a package filled with samples for me to try. Here’s the box they sent me!

They even sent me a hat and shirt. I didn’t know they were going to do that! Thanks so much, BetterChip! 

The shirt says “Don’t Worry, I’m All Natural.” Haha. Silly-willy me. 😉

What makes these chips different from other chips?

On their website, the BetterChip company markets that they are:

  • Made with 40% fresh ingredients so the flavor is inside
  • All Natural
  • Gluten Free
  • Non-GMO
  • Made in a completely nut-free environment.
  • Lactose free (Red Pepper & Salsa Fresca, Jalapeno Sea Salt)
  • Contain NO animal bi-products
  • Made on a line dedicated to only tortilla products

They sent me their 4 flavors to try them all out:


My favorite out of all of them!


I loved these with guacamole – add a nice KICK (not a whole lot but enough to do the job). 😉


This one I did not personally try because of the dairy, but the rest of my family did and sadly didn’t care for it at all. They much preferred the other three.


These were my sister’s favorite, but the rest of my family agreed that they tasted just like regular chips.


The Red Pepper & Salsa Fresca Chip was the winner! If I were to buy ANY of these chips, I would buy the Red Pepper and Salsa Fresca one. The flavor just can’t be beat, and I especially loved how I could read and recognize each of the ingredients on the label (unlike some chips…). Our second favorite was the Jalapeno one. I really like how they are each made with 40% real vegetables in them, so real Red Peppers and real Jalapeno Peppers. You get in your veggies with every bite. 😉

I was not paid to do this review. These samples were sent to me free of charge and I reviewed them with my own thoughts and feelings on each product.


Do you like green smoothies? What have been your experiences with them?

It’s been a while since I’ve had smoothies like this on such a consistent base, but I’m truly starting to love it! I don’t want to stop now because of how amazing I feel!

What is your favorite dip?

I always love guacamole and hummus. And nut butters – can’t forget them. 😉

What time do you usually go to bed?

I’ve started getting up at 6am to read my scriptures (to get my day started off right) and just have some me-time before the rest of the day starts. I’m striving for 10pm now. I always feel better when I get my 8 hours in. I just don’t feel the same when it’s only 6 or 7 hours…

with lots of hugs,

Balance With Self · Health And Nutrition · How do things work in my body? · My Life

The Call For More Blood Tests.

Hey My Beautiful Rain Drops and Lemon Drops and Gum Drops!

Thanks for all of your comments on my Carob Chip Cookies with Walnuts. Those were seriously gone in a matter of days. Carob is a favorite in my household!

I’ve been researching different books for good tips on healthy college living, and I’ve found two I would whole-heartedly recommend.

My girl Maria recommended The College Vegetarian Cooking by Megan Carle and Jill Carle to me after I had reviewed the One Bowl Cookbook, and I’m so glad she did! I put it on hold from my library and was so excited when it came in. I was literally leaping for joy past the point of happy – bursting with excitement!

I love how easy and group-friendly these recipes are and how low-cost and nutritious they are, too! Some of the recipes that caught my eye included:

  • Pasta with Broccoli and Caramelized Onions
  • Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Tomato Sauce
  • Vegetable Tagine with Couscous
  • Onion Stuffed with Quinoa and Mushrooms

I also found The Everything College Cookbook by Rhonda Lauret Parkinson at the library and just had to check it out. I love how this book has a whole introduction in the beginning with essentials for the college-room kitchen, pantry staples, tips on living a healthy lifestyle, etc!

Some of the recipes that caught my eye included:

  • Buckwheat Pancakes
  • Coconut Risotto
  • Tofu Burgers
  • Roasted Tomatoes
  • Tender Glazed Carrots

Overall, I would definitely want to get my hands on these books!

I was not paid to review these books; I just checked them out from the library, really liked them, and thought I’d share my thoughts on them.


Not my picture btw, but it’s from this lovely lady who made it into ice cream.

Butterfingers are probably the only candy bar I will risk the milk for once in a while. The fun-sized one still affects me, so I prefer not to have them very often (if it comes between having one of these and breaking out with acne, or not having it and having clearer skin, I’m going to pick the latter). I did have one the other morning (in my early morning scripture study class) and I did enjoy it (ha-ha, but I of course did not enjoy the consequences that came with it). My face and my stomach are both much happier when I avoid milk as much as possible. I guess it’s because there’s peanut butter in it that I’ll have it once in a while; maybe I should try to find a way to make a protein bar version of this that I can enjoy without the worry of breaking out! I bet that would taste incredible!


My Endocrinologist called a few days ago and said she wanted me to get some more blood work. (Yep, more.) She wants to check a certain aspect of my progesterone and see if I by chance have celiac disease (which I highly doubt, as I have none of the other symptoms; but there’s no harm in checking. My life would change if I had celiac… it wouldn’t be easy, especially at first…)

My dad drove me to the doctor’s clinic this morning so I could get my blood drawn, but they said that the blood work for the tests I was having done had to be done in the AM-time period (which kind of confused me, since we got there at 10AM); aka, I’ll have to get it done tomorrow. I was all prepared to have it done when I found out I had to get it done in an AM-period, which turned out to be before 8am. The clinic only opens at 7:15am, so that gives us only a 45 minute window to get it done. My dad and I (and my mom) were a little frustrated, but I’m sure it was just a simple misunderstanding; my endocrinologist may have just forgotten to mention it. My dad works up near there anyways. So my dad is going to take me up there again tomorrow morning to get the tests done (and hopefully these will be the last for a while).

I am getting a little tired of all of these blood tests. I just had some drawn this previous month, and I can’t even recall how many vials they did this previous year. I feel like they’ve already sucked out enough blood out of me for a lifetime… or two… But I guess that’s what needs to be done (whether I like it or not).


What’s your favorite candy-bar flavor combination? I love Almond Joy, Reese’s, and Butterfinger flavor combinations.

Do you like/use protein bars? Do you usually buy them or make them? I prefer to make them myself instead of having to always check to see if the bar has milk in it: making it myself, I can pretty much guarantee it will be milk-free for me. I also find that it is less expensive that way, too, as many dairy-free/vegan bars are pretty pricy. I wish I could have those yummy whey-based protein bars, but I’d rather not breakout.

Any thoughts on a good pre-blood-lab breakfast? I know I will be drinking lots of water between now and 8am so my veins will be nice and big before the lab occurs. (I don’t want them to miss!)


Balance With Self · Health And Nutrition · My Life · vegetarian

One Bowl Cookbook (For This Single Lady): Review

Hey My Beautiful Rainbows! ❤

Stephanie Bostic (if you want to read more about her, got here) approached me and asked if I would like to try her new book, One Bowl: Simple Healthy Recipes for One. She knew about my love of single-lady recipes and said her cookbook might be right up my alley.

So I tried it. And I LOVE it!

What is it about? The One Bowl: Simple Healthy Recipes for One cookbook focuses on recipes for the solo cook, with an emphasis on vegetables and bold flavors. YAY!

Some of the recipes I have tried include her:

Spiced Baked Apple

This was INCREDIBLE!!! It tasted just like an Apple Pie but without the crust. This took less than five minutes and I had apple pie for dessert. 😀 And I love that you don’t have to make a whole pie to enjoy apple pie! I’ve never made baked fruit before, but now I know I’ll be making more of these. 🙂

Creamy Cauliflower with White Beans

This one wasn’t my favorite. I think it could use some more spices, but it was ok.


I ADORE HER Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup!!!!

This was supposed to be a soup, but I didn’t add the extra water to make it more soup-like. Nonetheless, the scent was entrancing and the flavors were incredible!!!! This is by far my favorite recipe to ever use spices like this. 🙂

Apple Pancakes

This recipe was easily vegan-ized. I used non-dairy milk + a distilled vinegar in place of the buttermilk and flax+water in place of the egg. They turned out all right;. I think it would have worked better if the apple was shredded instead of chopped, but the flavors of the apple were very good anyways.

Out of all of these recipes I’ve tried, my favorites were the Spiced Baked Apple and the Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup.

Some of her other recipes that caught my eye were her:

  • Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
  • Creamy Buckwheat with Berries
  • Spicy Cabbage and Tofu with Noodles
  • Warm Lentil Artichoke Salad
  • Roasted Red Pepper Spread
  • Quick Quinoa Kale Salad
  • Vegetable Spring Rolls

The one I REALLY want to try is the Quick Quinoa Kale Salad. 😀

A couple of things I love about this book:

  • It lists essential ingredients and equipment to always have on hand.
  • Tips for planning out your meals, reading recipes, using leftovers/avoiding waste, eating on a budget, quick cooking strategies, etc!
  • Tips for the beginner cook on how to prepare/cook certain grains, eggs, and certain vegetables, and techniques in using certain herbs and spices
  • The recipes are plant-based and easily vegan-ized (for those with that concern)
  • It even has a section with nutrition basics, ways to eat more vegetables/fruits, and approaches you can try to conquer common challenges in the kitchen

Another thing I love is that the price is VERY reasonable, too. Its list price is $12.95, but I found it on Amazon for $11.07 for a new copy and $10.00 for a used copy. There’s even a kindle version for $5.00!

I would recommend this to any college student, to any individual who cooks for one/two, to any one who wants to start eating healthier; get your hands on this book! I for one am definitely taking this with me to college: it will lower the stress of trying to stay healthy, help me plan and budget my meals, give me recipes I can use to nourish my body, and help me use my time wisely in the kitchen so I can focus on my studies. 🙂


Do you have some favorite techniques for cooking for one? I love making single-serving recipes, like my Banana Cream Pie and my Pizzert Babies (both found here). One technique I’ve found is to not be scared to store extras in the fridge: they can come in handy later!

Do you sometimes have to push yourself to try new things? I used to not like oatmeal simply because I had never tried it before. But now I love it and enjoy it every morning.

Do you have a favorite cookbook for College living? Single-lady cooking? This one is my favorite: it has everything I would need for college!