*AMBER512   200,555
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*AMBER512's Recent Blog Entries

SparkPeople Cookbook

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Has anyone seen the ads for the SparkPeople cookbook?



If so you might have seen someone in those ads...ME! My story is included in the SparkPeople cookbook and I couldn't be more excited.



I have even started my very own blog at www.foundmyspark.com Please excuse the horrible layout/look. I'm still playing around with it.

Hopefully I can make it look a bit cleaner, more stream-lined, and less silly. But we all have to start somewhere!

And if you get a chance, look for the SparkPeople cookbook in bookstores or even online. It's less than $17 on amazon.com Now that's a steal! It's packed with info and definitely worth checking out.



You can read more about my experience trying to find it here: www.foundmyspark.com/2011/10/05/spar
kpeople-cookbook-available-now/


Thanks to everyone who has supported me in my weight loss journey. You all have inspired me and helped me so much.

THANK YOU!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PINK2965 1/14/2012 2:50PM

    WAY TO GO!! You should be so very proud of yourself and keep it up!! You will inspire many, many people....what a great feeling that has to be! So happy for you!! emoticon

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MARION64 12/8/2011 1:02PM

    Way to go Amber!!!! Hope to someday be like you :)

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MDTWEETY 10/28/2011 8:40AM

    WOO HOO! Congrats Amber!

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SBNORMAL 10/27/2011 8:35PM

  I am going to order this book. I am looking forward to reading your story. I am trying to lose 100 lbs. emoticon

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TINK9305 10/11/2011 11:55AM

    I was so excited when I saw the ad :o) "Hey it's Amber!!" then I went to post on your page and saw this ;o) Congrats!!!! You rock!!!!!! Hugs

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PDXROLLSROYCE 10/10/2011 1:30AM

    I am really proud of you and the changes you've made in your life. Fantastic job!

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DNJEN471 10/7/2011 11:47AM

    So proud of you girl! They couldn't have chosen a better person to help inspire others!

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DAWNOFCHANGE 10/6/2011 11:10PM

    I received my cookbook today and have already read your success story. You've have done an amazing job turning your life around! emoticon emoticon Thanks for being an inspiration to so many of us!

Now I can't wait to try some of the recipes! Yum! emoticon

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CAMELA_55 10/6/2011 5:00PM

    How exciting! Congratulations!!!!

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WORTHEYMOM 10/6/2011 7:44AM

    Yipee! I can't wait to see you in my spark cookbook! Congrats girl!

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BEACH_BOUND120 10/5/2011 9:36PM

    Congratulations! way to go!

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PAG2809 10/5/2011 9:00PM

    So thrilled for you!

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JLBRHW 10/5/2011 8:01PM

  My book is being shipped and should be here in a few more days and I can't wait!

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Homemade Banana Ice Cream

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Confession time: I do not always bathe in chocolate and peanut butter. I know, I know, if you have read my blogs recently they have definitely taken on a sweeter tone. Sweet as in CANDY! But I promise I do eat other things. They just arenít as tasty as chocolateÖ

And I think I figured out why my ďrecipes to tryĒ folder has exploded. Ok, it hasnít exploded yet, but itís bursting at the seams! If e-mail folders had seamsÖ.
See, I donít like the idea of making up a huge dish only to have it bomb. I donít want to rely on something for dinner and then find myself with something inedible. So itís been a lot easier to try recipes for snacks or desserts. I can always throw together a different snack, and dessert isnít necessary. (Ok, so it is necessary in my world, but I ALWAYS have backups.)

And I also havenít touched upon my dairy reduction lately, becauseÖwell I havenít done so great! I have completely cut out regular milk and cheese. But in all honesty, I rarely ever ate cheese, and I hate milk. Unsweetened coconut milk is a great swap. And if you can handle it unsweetened almond milk is so much tastier. Yes, there isnít as much calcium or protein, but that can be made up elsewhere. But I still havenít been able to cut out Greek yogurt completely. I havenít found a good substitute and it does provide a good portion of my protein.

I wish I could say I was writing this blog because I had finally made something savory for once. YeahÖI wish. But I do have another dessert/snack recipe. Because we all need more of thoseÖright?



That doesnít quite look like dessert, does it? Maybe it looks like guacamole, but I assure you, it is sweet and quite delicious. I was a little concerned as to whether blending avocado with a little vanilla coconut milk and banana soft serve would actually taste good or not. But when Averie posted this, I figure I should at least try it out. www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2011/05/v
anilla-avocado-banana-ice-cream.html


I made banana soft serve first. So simple, and amazing all on its own. Just blend up frozen banana in your food processor. You can add a little milk for a thinner consistency or add vanilla extract, cinnamon, anything you want!

Then I added the avocado for its creamy boost.



Blended that all together and it lookedÖgreen. Okay, I am a bit better about green foods since my favorite vegetable is broccoli and I drink green monster smoothies pretty much daily. But still, green ice cream? I wasnít sure.



On the day I was trying this out I had the benefit of having two little ones over. One of my nieces and one of my nephews were spending the day with Aubrey and I and I figured if they liked it, then it was probably going to be good.



They approved! In fact, they gobbled it up and wanted more. If that isnít a good sign, I donít know what is. And after I tried it, I realized why they liked it so much. The banana and vanilla coconut flavors melded quite well with the creamy avocado.

I felt bad when it was all gone, because that they did not approve of that!



I think I can hear them saying ďWhy did you eat the rest of the ice cream? *Sniff* The whole thing was supposed to be for us.Ē

Sorry cuties. Another time!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PIR8CHIK 10/20/2011 6:28PM

    I also went dairy free when I cut out gluten. Wow, what a drastic change. I'm not so keen on cheese either (although I DO love mexican food and pizza!) I loved the greek yogurt too. The best yogurt substitute I have found is the coconut milk yogurt by So Delicious. It's no where near as nutritious but it's a good consistency. Almond yogurt is a little gelatinous and rice milk yogurt is way to sweet and thin. I cut out soy so I haven't tried that kind.
I do get pretty excited when I hit up the icecream case and find the So Delicious or Luna & Larry's coconut icecream! It's delicious!
Melissa
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CASSIOEPIA 9/29/2011 5:47PM

    Love it! Sounds so easy, I just have to try it.
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*AMBER512 9/29/2011 3:42PM

    It is delicious! It comes together pretty quickly, really just keep blending until it reaches the consistency you want. So anywhere from 2-5 minutes of blending. And then if you want it to be more of an ice cream texture, stick it in the freezer for a little while for it to harden some. I prefer the soft-serve consistency of it freshly made :)

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RANDOM00B 9/29/2011 2:41PM

    That looks very good. One question (maybe I missed it): how long did it take to make?

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DNJEN471 9/28/2011 9:34PM

    Sounds interesting... We make the banana cream all the time.... So I'll be brave and give it a whirl.

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NEVERGIVEUP68 9/28/2011 8:06PM

    I made this afternoon and oh boy i did not tell my family what is in it. No one noticed. :-) i told them this is Pistachios ice cream. I use to get Pistachios ice cream from Indian grocery store and that is green color. They eat my ice cream they thought i got it from Indian grocery store. I add Cardamom powder in it. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/28/2011 8:06:57 PM

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MADE-FOR-MORE 9/28/2011 3:11PM

    This sounds so good! I can't wait to try it!


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NEVERGIVEUP68 9/28/2011 2:41PM

    Amber, I was thinking the other day to make this ice cream. I am going to use almond milk. As i can not have milk.

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Candy Failure : Part 2

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Before I fully get into my blog, I just wanted to send a thank you to everyone who congratulated me on being in the SparkPeople cookbook that comes out on October 4th. Iím excited (and really nervous) about it and canít wait to see how the whole thing turned out! Iím even considering starting my own blog to allow more than just SparkPeople users to see and comment on my random musings. Still researching how to go about it, but thank you all for your help in my weight-loss success! I love this community emoticon

Now to explain: How Not to Make Candy

It was about three weeks ago that I left you all on a cliffhanger of yet another candy making failure.



So what exactly went wrong? Well you see, I have never in my life followed a recipe exactly. There is always something I add, take away, or change, or in the end Iíll realize I have barely followed the recipe at all. And yet, I never make something new without a recipe. I want to know that what Iím craving has a good track record of turning out well.

So when I saw Averieís chocolate turtles recipe I knew it sounded delicious, but that I also donít keep agave nectar in the house.

www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2009/11/r
aw-vegan-chocolate-turtles.html


She did say I could use walnuts instead of pecans, which worked out well since thatís what I had on hand. But it was just in my own mind that I thought maple syrup could stand in for agave nectar in this case. It often can, but apparently maple syrup doesnít freeze.

Why does no one tell me these things? I had no idea maple syrup didnít freeze. I kept waiting for it to hardenÖand no luck.

It all started out so well. I laid down parchment paper, stacked up some walnuts.



Then I melted Enjoy Life (vegan) chocolate chips and dolloped some on each stack. Yummy!



Things were going so well. Then I attempted to put the ďfrozenĒ maple syrup mixture on top. I thought to myself, ďHmmÖthis seems to spreading out a lot more than I thought it would. But it should be fine, right?Ē



I mean, in Averieís version she still had some of the caramel sneaking out. So I just ran with it, I melted the second half of chocolate chips and attempted to cover up as much of the spill-out as I could.



Thatís when I realized my second and much more major mistake. I hadnít put the parchment paper on anything. I knew I needed to transfer it to the fridge or freezer, but it wasnít going to stay like that unless it was on a very large plate, preferably a cookie sheet. Yet had I had the forethought to do this in first place? Of course not! And when I attempted to move it onto one, thatís when all caramel broke loose.



If there was any way I thought these were going to stay together, it was all over now. Oh well, Iíll just throw it into the freezer and see what happens...

See, if youíre going to do this, you might also want to take more care into making sure you lay the cookie sheet FLAT. Yeah, didnít think about that one until I opened the freezer to find that all of that excess maple syrup slid off into the corner.



Picking one up and sliding it around in the still unfrozen maple syrup before eating sure was tasty, but wasnít quite what I was going for!



Oh, I will try again someday, but not today. Stupid maple syrup, why do you do these things to me?

Now you may be wondering why I have been making up so much candy lately in the first place. To be honest, I like it! Thatís why! Actually, because I like ending the day with something sweet. And even though Iím madly in love with Reeseís peanut butter cups and candy of that nature, Iíd much rather make something yummy at home that I can at least feel better about eating daily.

I know dark chocolate is amazing and blah, blah, blah, but itís so boring. I donít want to eat just a piece of chocolate. Chocolate deserves a companion. Why do you want your chocolate to be so lonely?

Chocolate needs a friend, you know caramel, peanut butter, something! Besides dark chocolate is gross. White ďchocolateĒ is whereís itís at! Or címon at least mix it with something!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAMELA_55 9/15/2011 5:14PM

    I am so hungry for chocolate right now, everyone of your pictures looks DELICIOUS, failure or not! Hats off to you for trying something new and exciting.
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Featured on Daily Spark

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Hmm did anyone happen to notice this blog today on Daily Spark?

www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=ord
er_the_sparkpeople_cookbook_today


I happened to recognize someone on there! ME! Crazy.

Yup, on October 4th the SparkPeople cookbook is coming out and I'M going to be in it!! It feels like I was interview yeeeaars ago, even though it wasn't quite that long ago!

Thank you to all of my Spark friends who have encouraged me, lifted me up, and shared your own stories with me throughout this journey.

Even when I make you question my sanity...



...you have still stuck by me. THANKS!!!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINK9305 10/11/2011 11:59AM

    :o)

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AMBER32585 9/19/2011 2:53PM

    soooo cool!!! congratz!

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CRAZYDOGLADYBO 9/14/2011 4:39PM

    That is awesome!

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*AMBER512 9/11/2011 1:49PM

    It's actually a bowl of quinoa with bell peppers! lol

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HANNAH_CALM 9/8/2011 9:13PM

    Cool, good for you!!!

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FINDING_CRYSTAL 9/8/2011 10:24AM

    That's awesome Amber! Congrats!

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CBAILEYC 9/8/2011 10:17AM

    Nice!
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C~

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AURORA.BELLA 9/7/2011 7:59PM

    I saw that! Congratulations!! Although I don't what you are holding in that picture, it looks like a giant bowl of fruity pebbles cereal? Lol. I like your hoodie/sweater in this picture btw.

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CAMELA_55 9/7/2011 7:59PM

    How exciting! Congratulations!!

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HEYPINK 9/7/2011 5:53PM

    thats awesome! congrats!!!

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Experiments in Candy Making

Monday, August 29, 2011

Surprise, surprise, itís been awhile! I canít seem to ramble on about myself on a regular schedule. But hey, at least I donít post so much you get sick of me, right?

The dairy-phase out is going pretty well. I have successfully cut out all dairyÖexcept for Greek yogurt. Yeah, I canít seem to quit the stuff. Especially since I canít seem to get enough protein without it. Being a vegetarian, I especially need protein because I am not getting it from too many traditional complete protein sources.

So while Greek yogurt is still a part of my breakfast (vanilla), my dessert (vanilla), and a few dinners (plain), Iím doing pretty well everywhere else. Itís pretty easy to convince myself that I donít need ice cream or cheese and Iíve never liked milk. Although mixing in unsweetened coconut milk into my smoothies is awesome! Yum.

I also made something else with the coconut milk recently, vegan fudge!



Cutting back on dairy does not convince me in any way to cut out chocolate or sugar. I will always have my sweet tooth.

I mixed together Enjoy Lifeís dairy-free chocolate chips with sunflower seed butter and coconut milk to make vegan SB fudge. I had originally wanted peanut butter fudge, but since I didnít have any in the house I decided sunflower seed butter would make a fine substitution.

I used a tablespoon of sun butter, two tablespoons of the coconut milk and Ĺ cup (120g) of the chocolate chips melted in the microwave in 20-30 second intervals until it was fully mixed.

And then I poured it into a container to firm up in the fridge. Once it was firm I cut it into bite-sized pieces. Perfect for when a chocolate craving suddenly hits.



But thatís not the only candy making I did. I discovered that switching out cacao powder for cocoa powder only works if you remember that cacao is way sweeter than cocoa. Because I tried a chocolate bar recipe that tasted so horrible it went immediately into the trash.

It called for just two ingredients coconut oil and cacao powder. But see, I didnít have any cacao, so I used cocoa. Fine, right? Just take some coconut oil, some cocoa powder, mix together.



Pour into a container to freeze. Pull out, admire how shiny it is.



Then attempt to cut it and realize it is solid.



Then take a bite and realize it doesnít matter that you canít properly cut it. Itís horrible. Oh, forget it. I give up. This was after the massive candy fail I had suffered before.



Iíll have to share this recipe at another time, but it involves chocolate chips, nuts, maple syrup, and much failure. But eventual success. Well, sort ofÖyouíll just have to wait!

How have you been?? I feel like itís been forever since Iíve really chatted with anyone here. Whatís new?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINK9305 10/11/2011 12:09PM

    yummmmm fudge!!!!! ;o)

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AMBER32585 9/7/2011 12:08PM

    yum!I switched to coconut oil mostly a few months ago...it is yummy!

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GOINGBACKTO180 8/30/2011 10:03PM

    Thanks for the fudge recipe and the humor in the other attempts. Practice makes perfect... Sometimes experimentation is great - other times not so much.

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AUBREYINGMAN 8/30/2011 10:33AM

    MMMMM more fudge please.

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WILDVIOLETS 8/29/2011 4:52PM

    Put it on parchment, Then pull it all out and peel the paper off before you cut it. (Sometimes wax paper works, and sometimes you spend an hour pulling tiny pieces of paper off your rice crispy treats ;} ).

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*AMBER512 8/29/2011 3:11PM

    The fudge turned out really well! I was going to get a picture of it out of the container, but I totally forgot. I'll have to do so next time I make it! The only bummer is that it was a bit hard to get out of there without leaving a bunch stuck to the container. Not quite sure how to fix that!

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AURORA.BELLA 8/29/2011 2:30PM

    That fudge looks good, and it turned out pretty good from what I can tell.

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SKYFROG 8/29/2011 2:27PM

    emoticon great ideas for the sweet tooth!

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