Aloha! from The Big Island & Chobani Flips GIVEAWAY!

Hawaii pool view

Aloha, friends!! I am typing this from a beautiful, breezy outdoor patio overlooking the pool at our vacation place in Hawaii… it is my first time to ever visit Hawaii, and I have been utterly blown away! Allyn’s grandfather has rental property on The Big Island, and when it worked out for Allyn and I to join his family for a short vacation in paradise, we jumped at the chance. June was a total workaholic month for me — between teaching summer camps for kids and keeping up my usual tutoring work, celebrating the release of Dancing With The Pen II, taking on some weekend literature classes for high school students, planning my ninth annual Summer Writing Camp, spearheading a screening of the Minimalism documentary in my hometown {seats still available if anyone is interested!} and preparing to marry the love of my life in less than two months… life has been quite a whirlwind!

Which is all to say, this vacation has come at the perfect time. Sun, sand, snorkeling… sunset dinners, hikes, lazy mornings… lots of relaxation and interesting conversation with people I love… it has been the “recharge” I needed!

me and al jungle selfie

An unanticipated perk of this trip is that it introduced me to Chobani Flips, a new product from my favorite yogurt company! The past month or so, I have been trying to eat yogurt every day to help keep my gut happy with probiotics, and I am a big fan of Chobani because they use real ingredients, natural sweeteners, and are always non-GMO. They also have such a wide range of flavors and taste so rich and creamy — I love having yogurt for dessert!

When we arrived at our vacation home, the fridge was stocked with some products that the previous renters had bought and left behind… one of our previous renters must have been a BIG Chobani Flips fan, because there were five containers stacked there, waiting for me to pounce on them! 🙂 I have been having them for breakfast AND dessert. My favorite flavor is the Almond Coco Loco: a delectable blend of tangy coconut, mini chocolate chips, and nutty almond pieces.

Serendipitously, Chobani just reached out to me with a neat flow chart quiz that you can answer to determine what flavor combo will be up your alley. And, because I love Flips so much, I decided to sponsor a giveaway to give one of you a $10 grocery store gift card so you can try out Chobani Flips for free! {Note: this giveaway is NOT sponsored by Chobani, it is sponsored by me, and all opinions are my own.} To enter, leave a comment on this blog post letting me know your favorite flavor or what you would most like to try. You can also follow DaybyDayMasterpiece on Facebook, Twitter, and/or subscribe to the blog for entries into the giveaway!

chobani_flowchart_x2_v09

Chobani_myflavor_card_sweetnspicy_v03 Chobani_myflavor_card_sweetnsalty_v03 Chobani_myflavor_card_sweet_v03

Enter below! Good luck! 🙂 The giveaway closes on Saturday, July 23rd.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

fabulous friday #2

Happy Friday, friends! And happy November! How was your Halloween? I had soooo much fun handing out candy to a ton of adorable trick-or-treaters. Lots of princesses, superheroes, and some amazing homemade costumes including a Medusa with hand-sewn snake hair! I hope your night was spooktastic and filled with more treats than tricks. 🙂

Here are five things I’m loving today:

1. Thanks to Robyn’s blog The Real-Life RD, I discovered this natural nutrition boost Vega One to add to my morning smoothies, and I’m loving it! I got the French Vanilla flavor and it’s very sweet, so I normally add just a quarter scoop to my morning smoothie. But it leaves me feeling satisfied for longer, and I love getting all kinds of plant-based nutrients and vitamins in my body first thing in the morning. It’s great way to wake up!

vega one

2. Two nights ago, I got to see the terrific writer Tom Barbash give a reading at San Jose State … I’ve been a fan of his work for a while, and I’m even more so now because he is such a warm, engaging and humble person. I am simultaneously devouring and savoring his new short story collection, Stay Up With Me. I’d highly recommend it!

3. Does anybody else watch the TV show Nashville? I got pulled into an episode the other night when I was drowsily getting ready for bed, and I’m now hooked! I guess I should have known this would be a show for me: after all, I love Nashville since it makes me think of Holly, I love country music, I love Connie Britton {Friday Night Lights!!} and I love romantic drama storylines, which the show has plenty of! Now I just need to get caught up on last season…

4. This evening I’m excited to hang out with a group of USC alumni to watch our Trojans play Oregon State … I’m all ready to cheer them on!

usc gear

5. I get to see my friend Dana on Sunday! We haven’t seen each other in a few weeks and I’m so looking forward to catching up. She always puts a smile on my face. Plus, I get to meet her sweet dog Heidi, which I am looking forward to!

Questions for the morning:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • What are your plans for the weekend?

my favorite gluten-free baking supplies

Happy Thursday, everyone! Is it just me, or does today feel like Friday to anyone else? It’s bizarre that this week feels long because it’s actually been a short week with the holiday on Monday! Oh, well. It’s still been a good one!

As I shared a couple weeks ago, I’ve recently been trying to go gluten-free, and it actually hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I expected … I feel energized and vibrant, which could be because I’ve eliminated gluten or could simply be because I’m eating more fruit and veggies than ever! Either way, I’m loving it!

One of the things I was most concerned about in going gluten-free was that I would miss baking. You all know how I love to bake, and I was worried that eliminating regular baking flour would cause my baked goods to be … well, gross. But I needn’t have worried. Even if you aren’t gluten-free, there are some wonderful alternative flours you might want to try out just for the fun of it! Here are my current faves:

gluten free baking supplies edit

As far as baking styles go, I’m a by-the-seat-of-my-pants baker. A little bit of this, a little bit of that … I like to experiment! Typically, if a recipe calls for two cups of regular flour, I’ll add about a cup of gluten-free flour, 3/4 a cup of gluten-free oats, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of other things!

1. Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour

gluten free flour

This is my favorite gluten-free flour base. It’s a mix of rice flour and tapioca flour, and it is a perfect substitute for all-purpose flour! I’ve also tried Bob’s Red Mill brand of gluten-free all-purpose flour, and that kind was good also, but I like this Trader Joe’s version better.

2. Gluten-Free Rolled Oats

oats

I love baking with oats! They make muffins and breads heartier and healthier. Plus I think they give baked goods a great texture. Just makes sure you purchase a gluten-free version of rolled oats, if gluten-free matters to you! {Sometimes wheat sneaks into things you wouldn’t expect…}

3. Almond Meal

almond meal

This an easy way to slip more heart-healthy almonds into your diet! An added bonus: almond meal makes baked goods extra moist. Just be careful not to add too much, or your finished product might be a little too crumbly.

4. Ground Flaxseed

ground flaxseed

I started adding a few tablespoons of ground flaxseed into my muffin and bread batter even before I went gluten-free. Flaxseed is packed full of omega-3s and fiber. I usually just add 1/4 a cup at most, so I can’t really taste it, but if you like a rich nutty flavor you can add more! You can also sprinkle ground flaxseed over your cereal or hot oatmeal for a morning nutritional boost.

oatmeal

So, there you have it: my current arsenal of favorite gluten-free baking products! Are any of you gluten-free bakers? I would love to hear your recommendations!

Have a wonderful day! Eat something yummy!

my favorite quick, healthy + gluten-free breakfasts

I’ve recently began eating a gluten-free diet — my brother found out that he is allergic to gluten and feels much better on a gluten-free diet, and since we share the same genes I thought I would give it a try, too! Breakfast was the meal I felt most stumped by: my quick go-to breakfast used to be a whole-wheat english muffin or toast with peanut butter. I haven’t yet found a gluten-free bread loaf that I love, so I went back to the drawing board.

Here are four of my new favorite healthy, gluten-free breakfasts. They are delicious when enjoyed slowly over the morning newspaper, and are also perfect for busy mornings when you need to eat something quick!

1. Oatmeal with nut butter & fruit. Make sure you use gluten-free oats. I like topping mine with blueberries, walnuts, and a spoonful of almond butter.

oatmeal

2. Greek yogurt + fruit, with a handful of walnuts or almonds on the side. My favorite combo lately: plain greek yogurt + a drizzle of honey + a sliced banana.

yogurt and banana

3. A smoothie made with greek yogurt and/or a spoonful of nut butter, plus spinach & chia seeds of course! Right now I am loving a combo of strawberries + mango + a sliced peach. And here is a delicious looking recipe from Danica at It’s Progression that I am planning to try out this week.

smoothie

4. Homemade muffins topped with peanut butter. I try to make a batch of banana muffins or apple-cinnamon muffins {substituting a gluten-free flour blend for the wheat flour} every weekend, and then I get to enjoy them as breakfast and snacks throughout the week.

apple oatmeal muffins

What are your favorite quick, healthy breakfasts? Please share in the comments below!