A love story.

It’s time everyone meets my best friend. See below my recent glimpse of heaven at the local Eagle City Market:

PB2.

We first met in my pantry, actually. I walked into the kitchen…the pantry door was open. Vangelis’ “Chariots of Fire” began softly playing and I was naturally gravitated to start slowly frolicking to the glowing jar of PB2 as it began to lift off the shelf towards me in the same fashion. Ok not really, but do take a minute to dissect this visual. The truth is I saw it packaged up, and gave it no longer than 3 seconds before it was dismissed as another one of my dad’s weird backpacking foods. I left the pantry without even saying goodbye. Then I left for Europe, and never again would I see PB2 until I was scanning Pinterest one day, “Hey that’s the weird stuff my dad had in the pantry!”. Upon arrival back in the US, this was one of many items I couldn’t wait to hunt down in the grocery store.

Hunt down I did…and to my glorious surprise there was not only a regular PB2 but also a chocolate PB2. As I said in my last post, I like to track my calories. So as any nut or nut butter lover knows, these glorious little things that often make our way into our diets are high in both calories and fat. Good fats they are indeed, but how do you put the spoon down after the suggested tablespoon or two? YOU CAN’T. Science has linked traces of crack in recent jars of peanut butter, proving true what we have thought all along. Not really, but doesn’t it feel like it? I don’t care what time of day it is, nut butter always sounds good and on just about anything. That’s why when I found this peanut butter that has 85% less calories and fat I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

I’ve tried all sorts of nut butter, even the “calorie-free” kind (YUCK)…but I haven’t been more loyal to a single food item than I have PB2. I honestly think I’ve had one on-hand since the first time I tried it. Let me tell you why I love and use it so much:

  • It’s in powdered form, making it easy to add to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal milk, and all sorts of recipes – without having the clumpy mess that you do with normal nut butter. It mixes easily and evenly.
  • Obviously, it’s a lower calorie/fat option…so overindulging is quite alright.
  • You can make it the exact consistency you want. You make your spread by adding water to it…allowing you to make it as creamy or dense as you choose.
  • Creating a flavored spread has never been easier. Think outside the box and instead of adding water, add pumpkin puree to get a yummy pumpkin-butter (then add water if needed, and cinnamon/p.spice for bonus points)…chocolate milk to add a chocolate kick…or even add it to jelly to play up America’s favorite combo – in a SPREAD! The options are endless!
  • It travels light and easy. Airport security? No problem. (yes I travel with it – not ashamed)

When you hear it’s so much lower in calories or fat you naturally tend to think there must be something going on in the process of making it that is unnatural and in the end – not good for you. But it’s an all-natural product that gets the powdered form by slow-roasting the peanuts and then pressing them to remove the oils and fat.  I realize not everyone is going to have the love affair with PB2 that I have. In fact, some of you probably think I’ve lost it, and are sitting there laughing at your computer thinking “wow, this girl just wrote an entire post about…peanut butter”…but I highly suggest even if you are doubtful you at least give it a try. If not, then at least you now know what I’ve referenced in 90% of my recipes. You can find this stuff in most natural/organic sections of the store, but if not you can also order it online…which is what I had been doing before I found this lovely section in our City Market (pictured above).

Since there is more to life than peanut butter (sometimes), let me share my week in photos:

This marked my first week of work at VVMC (Vail Valley Medical Center). It was full of lots of training and new information to digest. I know everyone probably says this 1-week into their job, but I couldn’t be happier with what I’m doing and where I’m at. I love being in the healthcare atmosphere, getting to learn new software programs, interacting with customers, and working with people who are passionate about what they do. The opportunity for growth and movement within this field is so exciting. My specific facility in Beaver Creek doesn’t open until Nov 21, so our training has been in the hospital in Vail…but we did get to sneak up and check it out. This picture is where I’ll be working. When I said we’re at the base of the ski resort…I meant it!! How spoiled am I!!

We ate outside all week during our lunch break. It’s been unusually warm this late into the year. Every morning before work I’d walk in to the sound of snow-making…they’re trying hard to get runs open for opening day next Friday!

One of many perks of working for VVMC…they have a library where employees can check out as many books as they’d like, and even can have books ordered in free-of-charge. I [obviously] had to pick up a few while I was checking things out. I’ll be looking to order in some health informatics/IT-related medical books soon…a field I’m trying to learn more about and hopefully get into somewhere down the line.

The most amazing sunset on my way home from work this week!

Last weekend we took advantage of a nice sunny Sunday and took a little run/hike. This place is full of the most amazing hidden paths!

At the top:) Love this kid.

In case you ever think you’ll go easy on the spinach, DON’T. You can never have enough of this stuff. This huge tub is only 40 calories and full of nutrients! When picking your lettuce, generally the darker the leaf the better.

Weird…me eating sweet potatoes? Well for some reason this idea JUST clicked in my brain this week. Why haven’t I been using my food processor to cut these before? I can’t tell you how many cuts I’ve given myself trying to cut these! Also, why have I not been cooking them in the skillet? Delicious! I don’t season these with anything but a little olive oil and salt/pepper. They are so flavorful on their own!

We all get on our kicks. This week was a smoothie kick. Had one almost everyday…either at breakfast with some cereal mixed in, or at night for dessert. Yum yum. No recipes, though. I’m just going to tell you I used plain greek yogurt, unsweetened almond milk (chocolate or vanilla or both), oatmeal, frozen fruit, frozen banana, chia seeds, flax meal, and then other add-ins to make my specific flavor. Anything from PB2 to cocoa powder to carob chips. Be creative:) I’ll try to get some specific recipes down sometime soon. I really am just eyeballing everything.

But if you are looking for some recipes to follow, check out this weeks creations:

Cookie Dough Hummus Dip

Rustic Italian Tortellini Soup

Beef Tamale Bake

Baked Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Lastly, be sure to check out a few workouts I added…and enjoy wherever you are in the world, even if your view looks similar to mine today:

I guess I need to strap a few lights and ornaments on this tree in our backyard, huh? *cues Christmas music*

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