Day 8 // Outsmart Your Appetite for Sugar | Birchbox Challenge

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

I have an insane sweet tooth. I crave chocolate (most) times of the day. Recently Compartes (those retro, gorgeous packaged, eccentric flavor chocolate bars) have been infiltrating into my thoughts. (Okay, sugar has already distracted me from the message of this post).

When chocolates and cupcakes beckon me, I tend to distract myself by eating a healthy alternative, take a 15 minute walk around the block or check my Instagram feed. Most of the time the urge will subside.

My favorite snack alternatives:

Apple & Natural Peanut Butter – I love the salty + sweet flavor combination. It reminds me of the healthier alternative to candied apples. The fiber of the apple and protein of the peanut butter make the perfect pairing of a nutritious and filling snack.

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

Crackers & Cheese – My favorite crackers of the moment are Raincoast Crisps Rosemary Raisin (cheaper dupe is Trader Joes Raisin Rosemary Crisps) and any spreadable cheese.

My favorite healthy snacks #BirchboxChallenge Day 7 // via It's Jou Life blog - https://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1112

Trail Mix – I either buy it from Costco or make my own. Mixed nuts, especially walnuts are high in omega-3 and almonds help lower bad cholesterol. I like to add dried cranberries and a sprinkle of chocolate chips.

About the Birchbox Challenge

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Let’s do this together!

joining the Birchbox Challenge | day 1 // eat dessert for breakfast (really!)

Birchbox teamed up with a panel of all-star experts to bring a 31-day challenge to make 2015 your healthiest, happiest, most gorgeous year ever. I’m joining Birchbox on this month-long challenge and will share my success with #BirchboxChallenge. Make sure to also enter for their daily prize giveaways.

Let’s do this!

Day 1 // A favorite motto of mine is Dessert First! What a great way to ring in the new year with a Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie for breakfast. It’s a wholesome update on a favorite summer treat that makes for a slightly decadent on-the-go breakfast or a sweet afternoon snack.

I made a few alterations to the recipe based on preference and what I have available. I used coconut oil (instead of cashews), vanilla soy milk (instead of almond milk) and honey (instead of maple syrup). The smoothie will be very thick (spoon-able, even!). I added an extra half-cup of ice and thinned it out with more almond/soy milk. I added more honey and soy milk accordingly to texture and taste.

Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie

Makes 2 large smoothies or 3 smaller ones

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups frozen strawberries OR 1 cup fresh strawberries 1 cup ice

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup cashews (I used coconut oil)

1 cup almond milk (I used vanilla soy milk)

1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used honey)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use 3/4 tsp since 1 tsp is too strong)

Directions: Add ingredients to blender. Blend until fully combined.

day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025   day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025   day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025   day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025

day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast via It's Jou Life blog http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/?p=1025

day 1 #birchboxchallenge // strawberry shortcake smoothie for bfast // itsjoulife.com

What is Birchbox? Read a previous post written.

Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that delivers curated beauty products tailored to my preferences. For just $10 a month, I receive 4-5 hand-picked, deluxe beauty samples from the best brands—popular luxe brands I covet, to the new and niche brands I have yet to discover. I’ve been a loyal subscriber for the past few years and this is hands down the best beauty box and offers the best incentive programs.

Summer Sprouts

We planted pole beans and cucumbers in the garden about 10 days ago and they recently sprouted!

bean cucumber
Pole beans planted around a wire cage and cucumbers planted under a trellis.

beanSprout cucumberSprout
Baby bean and cucumber sprouts.

The cucumber seeds were started under plastic bottles with the bottom removed to create a mini-greenhouse.  After the seeds had sprouted, we removed the bottles and replaced them with plastic rings cut from water bottles to keep the seedlings separated from the mulch.  This helps to keep the seedlings from staying too moist which can cause disease.

We have also been harvesting blueberries as they ripen.  Blueberries don’t ripen all at the same time so you should check every couple days and harvest the ripe ones.  It can be a little tricky to tell if blueberries are ripe, but look for berries that are completely blue/purple without any hint of green.  Blueberries can also be sweeter if left on the bush an extra day or two after they turn colors.  Just remember to pick them before the garden animals do.

blueberry
Blueberries.