This Ain’t My Grandma’s Popcorn or Granola for that Matter

Today I’m going to continue blogging about the healthy snacks I recently bought…….

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Popcorn
According to the Encyclopedia Popcornica, people have been eating popcorn for more than 4,000 years. That’s a long time. Since then, people have eaten popcorn and used it for decorations. The Aztecs used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods. In the United States families use popcorn to decorate Christmas trees.  Each year Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popped popcorn. So is it healthy? That depends on what kind you eat. There are so many varieties to choose from: air popped, kettle, stove top, bagged, boxed and of course microwave. I’m sure I might be missing a variety or two.

Skinny Pop Bagged Popcorn
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Skinny Pop is low fat, gluten free, non GMO, nothing artificial, and has less than 50 calories per cup.  There are four flavors: original, black pepper, naturally sweet, and white cheddar. I really like the white cheddar.

Skinny Girl Microwave Popcorn
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Skinny Girl Popcorn was created by Bethany Frankel (she’s on one of those real housewives shows) in a partnership with Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn company. There are two microwave flavors: Butter & Sea Salt and Lime & Sea Salt. It’s amazing that the microwave popcorn has less total fat (6 grams in 6 cups) than the bagged popcorn (18 grams of total fat in 7 cups). But the amount of sodium in the microwave popcorn is 400 mg compared to 180 mg in the bagged popcorn. I’ve only tasted the Butter & Sea Salt flavor.  I don’t like the Skinny Girl as much as the Skinny Pop.  

Veggie Snacks
I also bought Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Straws and Chips. Both varieties of Garden Veggies contain 30% less fat than most potato chips. I love, love, love the veggie straws. I’m not really a big potato chip person like my brother is. I gave him some veggie chips to try and he thought they were ok. I left the room, and when I got back I discovered he had eaten half the bag! Like I said, he’ll eat any kind of chip and like them.

Granola
Granola is generally composed of whole grains such as rolled oats and puffed rice, nuts, and honey. It was invented in the early 20th century. According to Statista, granola bar brand sales in the United States top more than 1 billion dollars. That’s alot of bars!

KIND Granola Bars
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KIND snacks website message is “There’s healthy. There’s tasty. Then there’s healthy and tasty. At KIND®, we believe you deserve both—we call it our brAND philosophy.” So I gave the vanilla blueberry bars a try. They were really, really good. On top of that, they are gluten free, non GMO, and only contain ingredients you can pronounce. I explored their site and found more than 20 varieties of bars. Kellogg’s and Quaker both have bars. Either are great for a grab and go snack. But I’ll be honest, I prefer the KIND bars. I’m going to try more flavors.

Cracker Jack’D Snack Mix
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The other day, my grandma asked what was I eating. I told her it was a new Cracker Jack’D snack mix. She asked “where’s the box, where’s the prize?” I was confused. Then she told me that back in her day, the only Cracker Jack’s they had were caramel covered popcorn with peanuts and it came in a box with a prize.  I told her they still sell that, but now they also have healthy snacks. I prefer the double chocolate flavored Cracker Jack’D. It has 7 grams of protein per serving, which helps with energy before a long dance class. Well, these are all my snacks so far. Since I’m always ready to try new ones, send me a comment about your favorite healthy snack. I’d like to try it.

Healthy Snacking My Way

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A while back, I blogged about the Graze Boxes that my mom and I order.  Today I’m going to talk about healthy snacking my way. There are so many options when it comes to healthy snacking.  I took a picture of my latest purchases.  As a dancer, I want to eat in the healthiest way possible without sacrificing flavor.  For me, learning to do so has been a journey. I love sweets and candy and often find them hard to resist!  I’m still eating from graze boxes, but I’m also looking for better variety.  There are so many choices and a lot of athletes have their favorites.  My sister’s boyfriend plays a lot of soccer. He recently bought me some pistachio trail mix, sweet potato tortilla chips, baked vegetable crisps and coconut water.  He loves coconut water and he said it gives him a change from regular energy drinks.  The coconut water tasted ok, but I didn’t love it.  The pistachio trail mix was pretty good and I liked the sweet potato chips. They had good flavor.

Gluten Free Chips and Crisps

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So the crisps, chips and trail mix I tried are all gluten free. So what does gluten free mean? Protein gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale. People with Celiac Disease can’t eat gluten. More than two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications from Celiac Disease.  Although I’m not allergic to gluten, these snacks are very healthy. Pistachio Trail Mix is  from 180snacks; Sweet Potato chips are from Food Should Taste Good; and Baked Vegetable Crisps are from Good Natured Selects.

Greek Yogurt

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Greek yogurt is one of the biggest health food sellers in the United States.  According to the website Statista, Greek yogurt sales have increased from 4% of the US market in 2008 to more than 52% of the US Market in 2014. Greek yogurt is different from traditional yogurt because it’s been strained to remove most of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar. This gives the Greek yogurt its thick consistency. So compared to regular yogurt, Greek has more protein and less sugar.   So I bought two popular brands of Greek yogurt, Chobani and Oikos.  I tried both Greek yogurt brands with fruit already in them (pineapple and peach).  They were pretty good. Then I bought plain yogurt made by each brand.  Whether it be Chobani or Oikos, eating the plain yogurt is definitely an acquired taste.  So I decided to add some honey to help with the taste.  It sweetened it a bit. I’m going to try adding my own fruit to the plain yogurt as well. Since I love mango, I’ll start there!

Fruit

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Sometimes, fresh fruit and dried fruit is an easy snack that I like to grab on the go.  Apples, plums, and of course my favorite mango are easy to clean and eat. Until next time, I’ll talk about popcorn and granola bars.

2015 Liebster Award

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Hi everybody,

I know, I know……………long time, no blog.  I’ve been pretty busy for a twelve year old.  Last month I only found the time to write two blogs, and I have a lot to tell you.  I promise I’ll do better.  May was a busy and exciting month for me.  In my next blog post, I’ll tell you about the end of the school year and my first end-of-year dance recital at my “new” studio (which I guess isn’t new anymore), and a bunch of other things.  But first, I want to tell you about the Liebster Award.  This award was created to help “Discover New Blogs.” The Liebster Award is a way to give lesser known bloggers a boost and to help them gain readership.  I was nominated by a nice lady who writes a really cool blog called “Life in the Front Seat.” I am supposed to answer the following questions and post them to my blog.

  1. How did you decide on the title of your blog, and what is it about?
    “What Ainsley Likes” is the name of my blog. Obviously, my name is Ainsley and my blog is dedicated to all of the things I like.  I use it as a way to express myself, to talk about the things I do on a regular basis, to talk about the things that I am thinking and what I care about, and to explore and discover interesting things in life.
  1. Where does your blogging inspiration come from?
    My blogging inspiration comes from all of the things in my life. I gather inspiration and ideas from school, dance, friends, family and everyday life.  I love clothes.  I love holidays.  I love to read.  And I really like reading the news on the Internet, so I try to discover something interesting about those things and post them to my blog.
  1. Can you give 11 random facts about yourself? 
    I love to dance.I love fashion.
    My mom calls me a clothes horse!
    I’m an awesome reader. I can read up to two books a week depending on what else I have going on.
    I love arts and crafts.
    I have a very close knit family.
    I have a dog named Ziggy.
    I started playing the clarinet this year. Still not sure if I like it yet.
    My favorite color is pink.
    I like to play Trivia Crack on my I-phone.
    I like to try new things at least once.
    I have a large doll collection, especially American Girl Dolls.
  1. What was your biggest accomplishment of 2014?
    I danced in a professional ballet production for the first time, The Nutcracker. I had a small part, but it was very exciting to dance with professional ballet dancers.
  1. What is it you love most about blogging?
    Blogging gives me a way to express myself. I love to write.  And what better way than to write about everyday things.  I also have started getting into cooking (simple things, of course).  I craft too.  My blog gives me a way to share what I like to do.  I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet other people and make new friends from blogging.
  1. If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
    The first thing I would wish for is MORE WISHES!
    Then I would wish for world peace. I do not like to see people suffer.
    Of course, who wouldn’t want a million dollars? So, I’d wish for M – O – N – E – Y!!
  1. What is one country in the world you would like to visit? Why?
    I would like to visit France. According to Forbes Magazine, France has some of the most beautiful cities in the world.  They are also known for their awesome clothes, especially Paris.
  1. What are you currently watching or reading?
    I read a lot of books. There’s a library around the corner from my house so it’s very convenient for me to get books.  I’m currently reading Little Women.  I have two shows I like to watch…The Voice, which just ended, and Dance Moms, of course.
  1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
    I love living in the United States. I hope to one day be able to live in New York City and be a famous ballerina like Misty Copeland.
  1. What is something you do when you need to take time for yourself?
    I go in my room or find a quiet place and read. Sometimes I like to take a long bath, but after about an hour, my brother always yells from the hallway, “Your spa day is over, Ainsley!  Get out of the bathroom!”
  1. Where do you see yourself in 20 years time?
    In 20 years, I hope to be in the middle of a dance career! When I am finished dancing, I will go to college and study dance performance and sports medicine or nutrition so that I can go back and help dancers with their health, including physical problems, injuries, and managing their bodies and their weight.

I would like to nominate the following blogs for the Liebster Award.  Thank you to Adrianne for nominating me for this award.  It is an honor that she likes my blog. You should check out her blog. “Life in the Front Seat.”

Enough about me… let’s talk about this Liebster Award.  The rest of this Liebster fun involves nominating other bloggers and their blogs.

I’d like to nominate
John Hansen, Julia Byers,  and Kira Budge at “Teens Can Write, Too
Chandelle at “seed & feather
Ava at “OMG! All the Cool Girls: Girls, Tween, Teen Fashion Blog

Here’s what you need to do if you accept the nomination.  You’ll need to answer the eleven questions listed below in an upcoming post.  Be sure to comment here and let me know that you’ve posted.  I’d love to read it!  In your post, please link back to me (linking to this post would probably be most helpful to trace the Liebster trail).

You’ll also need to nominate bloggers for the award in your post.  Your main criteria is that the blog needs to have less than 200 followers on your social media platform of choice and that you need to love that blog!  Just be sure that you notify them of their nominations and that they have the link to your post so they’ll know what this Liebster Award is all about.

Here are your questions:

  1. How did you decide on the title of your blog, and what is it about?
  2. Where does your blogging inspiration come from?
  3. Can you give 11 random facts about yourself?
  4. What was your biggest accomplishment of 2014?
  5. What is it you love most about blogging?
  6. If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
  7. What is one country in the world you would like to visit? Why?
  8. What are you currently watching or reading?
  9. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  10. What is something you do when you need to take time for yourself?
  11. Where do you see yourself in 20 years time?

Happy Mother’s Day

Today is the day we celebrate Mother’s Day. I read about the origin of Mother’s Day on History.com.  What I found interesting is that a number of people promoted celebrating Mother’s in the late 1800’s.   In 1868 Ann Reeves Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation. It was actually her daughter, Anna Jarvis, who conceived Mother’s Day as a way to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children.  In 1908, the first official Mother’s Day was held in West Virginia.  Anna did not get married or have any children of her own; yet she pushed for Mother’s Day to become a national holiday.  What’s strange is that once it did, she later fought to have it removed as a holiday because she thought it was too commercial. Much like today, both the floral and card companies were a part of Mother’s Day celebrations. According to Statista.com, in 2014,  jewelry and dinner/brunch were the two largest planned expenditure categories in the United States for Mother’s Day (more than $7 billion!). Flowers were $2.35 billion.  At my dad’s church, everyone whose mother is alive wears a red flower, usually a rose or carnation. For those whose mom is deceased, they wear a white rose or carnation. This tradition is meant to honor all mothers. We rarely go out for Mother’s Day. Instead, my dad, you know the master chef (at least that’s what he calls himself) always cooks dinner.  This year, we had baked salmon, lobster mac and cheese, and salad. I made the red velvet cupcakes (see the recipe below).

Duncan Hines Decadent Red Velvet Cupcake

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Cupcake Ingredients: 2 Eggs, 2/3 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of oil.
Frosting Ingredients: 2 teaspoons water and 8 tablespoons butter.

This recipe is so simple all you have to do is follow the instructions on the back of the box:

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Salt Dough Handprint

I also made a simple craft. My brother made one of these for my mom when he was in the second grade. I’ve always been a little jealous that she’s got one of his hands (and she keeps it on her dresser and puts her jewelry in it).  Now she has one of mine too (and mine is much bigger than his!).  Ha, take that, Jacob!  I found this recipe on Mommymoment.ca

Ingredients: 1 Cup Flour; 1 Cup Salt; 1/2 Cup Water

Instructions:
Mix the salt and flour in a large bowl.
Make a well in the salt/flour mixture and add the water.
Knead until smooth and shape into a bowl.
Place the mixture in a tin pan and imprint your hand.
I pressed my hand into the pan but it did not make a good imprint. So I wet my hand and tried it again. This time it worked.
Decorate with food coloring.
I baked it at 200 degrees F until dry.

 

 

Graze Your Way to Healthy Snacking

I dance three times during the week and on Saturdays.  When I come home from school, I have only a short period of time to eat something, change into my dance clothes, get my hair into a bun, and get to dance.  I eat a lot of fruit, but sometimes that gets old.  And it’s hard to keep fresh fruit from going bad.  So, I also eat canned fruit, fruit cups, salads, and snacks like veggie chips.  Because I dance, I try to eat enough to get me through my classes until dinner time, but I also want to eat healthy foods that taste good.  My mom and I have tried a lot of different types of snacks for after school.  Some of them have been good and some of them not so much.  Then we discovered Graze.

Over 100 different types of snacks to choose from, delivered to my mailbox, once a week for $6.99 per week.  That’s a Graze Box!  The food my box is selected based on what I listed as my favorites when we signed up.  They asked me about different kinds of foods and what I like, love, or would like to try.  Then the people at Graze put together my box based on how I rated these foods, pretty much making sure that I always receive the foods I like.

It’s been about four weeks since we started receiving our Graze Boxes, and I think I’m going to like it.  I chose the sweet treat box, so each week I get four small squares of healthy snacks containing dry fruit, nuts, seeds, and granola.  They have a pretty creative mix of flavors and most everything that I’ve received so far tastes pretty good.  Some of it is better than good.  Their slogan is “don’t just snack, graze.com”. Go to www.graze.com and sign up to receive your healthy snacks today.

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