Friday Free for All

It’s certainly shaping up to be a great day.  Here’s what’s happened so far as well as the plan for what’s going to happen the rest of the day.  (I guess by the time I post this it will all have happened, but I digress).  Jacks and I both started the day off with a run.  I wasn’t necessarily planning on getting out this morning, but it was still raining and I can’t pass up a run in the rain.  I don’t know what it is but I absolutely love it.  I’m also super proud of Jacks, she did 5.2 miles.  That’s awesome! Breakfast today is oatmeal with all the fixings.

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We’re just going to hang around the house for a bit, and then we’ll be off to our favorite vet’s office Caring Hands Animal hospital for Olive to get her nails trimmed… Weird fact about our dog, she just LOVES the vet.  She’s so bizarre.

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We’re going to head down to Arlington after that and sell some gear at a consignment shop, hit up a great little bakery/coffeeshop, Bakeshop, and probably get a smoothie for a snack at South Block.

Salted Oatmeal Apricot Cookie!
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Dogs want smoothies too!
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Lunch is/was a nice big salad.
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We’ve got a massage planned for the afternoon, and then, one of the most fun things we’ve had in the plans for awhile.  We’re going to make dinner with both Connor and Bethany.  We’re still trying to figure out the exact menu, but there is just something about cooking together and breaking bread together that is awesome.  It’s been a huge blessing to have the two of them around a lot lately.  It’s kind of sad that they’ll be headed off to British Columbia in a week.  But I’m really excited to hear those stories as well.

Speaking of the massage, that seems to be one of those things that often leads to comments about us having a great marriage.  I find that kind of interesting, but it really does help to put things into perspective.  I do think we have a great marriage, but it takes a lot of work.  As a man you can’t give up on dating your spouse.  It may be easier for us in not having kids, but I’m going to challenge you to look at your priorities.  Even without kids, we have to make an effort.  It requires putting things on the calendar, and it requires putting the phone down and talking.  It also takes a very clear understanding that it’s a commitment.  And for us it’s a covenant as well.  We couldn’t do it without having God in our lives.  We were trained several years back as marriage mentors, what I would tell you out of that is that we got so much more in our own marriage when we were helping others.  It required us to really look inward at ourselves.  I know there are a lot of people out there that are struggling at hurting.  I’d encourage you all that getting help and talking to people isn’t a sign of weakness.

I hope and pray for you as the readers to have a great day, and if any of you needs prayer, I’m always happy to do that.

Friday Finds

As you may have guessed already, Nick and I love to go grocery shopping, and we love looking for new finds. I always get so excited when I see a new product on Instagram or Facebook because then it’s like a treasure hunt to find it! Over the last several weeks we’ve scored some really awesome finds, and I wanted to share them with you!

Square Bars:
Friday Finds
I’m usually not a big fan of protein bars, but these are awesome! They taste more like a candy bar, which makes me really happy! They do have some sugar in them, but I love that they are non-gmo, organic, and are a good source of protein. They are great when I need a snack, and they’re great before, or after, a workout. I haven’t gotten my hands on the peanut butter one yet, but so far the chocolate covered coconut is my favorite.

Glutiny Beer from New Belgium Brewing:
Friday Finds
I’m definitely not a beer drinker, but it’s great to have some tasty beer on hand for baking, or for a good beer batter. While this beer is not certified gluten free, it’s crafted in such a way to remove the gluten. There is a similar beer, daura, that we’ve used in the past, and this is a lot like that. Nick is a fan of New Belgium, and he liked it a lot. I will admit, I tasted it, and it wasn’t awful. (remember, I said I’m not a beer drinker) I can’t wait to make beer battered buffalo cauliflower!

Millet & Chia gluten free/vegan bread from Little Northern Bakehouse:
Friday Finds
I got a heads up on this product on Instagram from Melissa at It’s Got Vegan in It. While I’m not a celiac, I like to cut my gluten intake because I like to try different flours, and different grains. When I found out that they sold this bread at MOM’s, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! I grabbed a loaf of the millet & chia bread to try. I made it as toast, and topped it with cashew butter and raspberry jam. Delicious! It has great texture, and flavor. And it doesn’t have a gluten free free flavor. I was worried it might be really dense, and gummy, but it’s light, and wonderful! I can’t wait to try their other flavors, too!

Wegman’s Organic Cashew Butter:
Friday Finds
I like nut butters just as much as the next person, but I usually just stick to peanut or almond butter. But while at Wegman’s last week I happened to see this jar of cashew butter and I was intrigued. Cashews are a vegan staple, so I was excited to try them as a butter. This stuff is SO good! Now, I’m sure that there are other brands of cashew butter that are available, but this is just what I happened to grab. (I’ve heard Trader Joe’s makes a good one) It’s super thick and creamy, and it’s great on toast. I definitely reach for this when I head to the pantry!

Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers:
Friday Finds
We heard about these on Instagram through VegNews. Nick LOVES Swedish Fish, and so he was excited to find something similar without all of the artificial colors. These things are crazy good, and crazy addictive. They’re super soft, and they have great fruit-like flavor. I think the bag was only $2.99. What a steal! So, so good.

Lily’s Stevia-Sweetened Dark Chocolate Chips:
Friday Finds
Now to be honest, we haven’t tried these yet, but we can’t wait to try them! They are a favorite of Somer McCowan who wrote “The Abundance Diet”. She suggested them (or Enjoy Life) for several recipes, so we were excited to get our hands on these. Can’t wait to bake something delicious with them! And they’re fair trade! Yay!

Amy’s Candy Bars:
Friday Finds
I’ve always looked at Amy’s candy bars in the past, and they were never vegan, so I always walked away sad. BUT! I happened to look at them again while at MOM’s (all of the bars were on sale), and TWO of them were vegan! Say what?! Needless to say, I bought them both. I think the Dreamy is going to be like a 3 Musketeers or a Buccaneer bar. The Sunny bar is a lot like an Almond Joy. There are two bars in each package, so they’re great for sharing!

Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy ice cream:
Friday Finds
I might, or might have not, squealed out loud when we found these. I would have grabbed all 4 flavors, but we didn’t have room in our freezer, but believe me, I’ll be making room for them! We tried them when we got home, and they are AMAZING! They’re creamy, delicious, and full of all kinds of yummy chunks of stuff. I also love that they’re fair trade! There are some arguments out there that we (the vegan community) shouldn’t buy these because they support a company that’s a part of the dairy business. My hope is that they will out-sell the dairy flavors and we’ll send a huge message to them! I’ve heard they’ll be rolling out nationwide in the next 3-6 weeks. We found these at Wegman’s, too. They weren’t with the non-dairy ice creams, but with the regular Ben & Jerry’s display. And you know what? The non-dairy flavors had been ransacked! Yay for non-dairy!

I love finding new things to try, and sometimes you have to look where you might in a crazy spot, but it’s always worth it in the end! What great vegan finds have you found recently?