Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Caveman Cookies: Nom Nom Nom

It’s the first of September and we have an exciting month in store for you all! We have recipes, tips for healthy eating, and other product reviews in the works, so stay tuned!

We’d like to start off with a review of our favorite new discovery—

Caveman Cookies.

Gluten free, 100% all-natural, chewy and DELICIOUS.

“Just like your great, great, great, great, great…grandmother used to make!”

Caveman Cookies have a lot going for them. They are Paleo-approved. They are also dairy-free, are good sources of protein, and have no refined sugars or preservatives. They are Kosher-certified, only 65-75 calories per cookie, and are made of ingredients which are based off our ancestral diet of nuts and berries!

They come in five delicious varieties:

Original Caveman Cookie: honey, almond meal, walnuts, raisins, ginger, nutmeg & cinnamon.

Tropical Caveman Cookie: almond meal, honey, coconut, macadamia nuts and ginger.

Alpine Caveman Cookie: honey, hazelnut meal, almond meal and toasted carob.

Rainforest Caveman Cookie: honey, almonds, brazil nut meal, dried cherries (cherries, sunflower oil), nutmeg, cayenne pepper.

New World Caveman Cookie: maple syrup, honey, almond meal, dried cranberries (cranberries, apple juice concentrate, sunflower oil), pumpkin seeds, spices

The Caveman Bakery is a small New York based company with a big dream. They are dedicated to producing foods which are wholesome, and are made with “ingredients that early humans had access to (e.g., nuts, honey and berries).” Caveman Cookies are currently sold at their Caveman bakery, in local stores throughout the country and on their website, CavemanBakery.com

So, if you want a tasty treat that you can really feel good about - CAVEMAN COOKIES are the way to go. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Quest Nutrition Review & Giveaway

1. The Review


We all need it.

While everyone seems to understand its importance, many people are unsure as to how much protein they need on a daily basis. Regardless of if you are a vegetarian, vegan, following a paleo diet or simply trying to eat healthy, protein should be a necessary component of almost every meal you eat.

Alexis and I both struggle to fuel our muscles with enough protein while constantly being on the go. We went on a quest… and discovered the Holy Grail of protein bars.

Quest Bars.

If you’ve never heard of Quest Nutrition and all of the incredible products they offer, then you are in for a treat (literally).

Let me pose a question: Can you think of a time you ate a protein bar and actually enjoyed it? If so, how many flavors did you have to choose from? Two? Three? 

Quest Bar has 14 unique flavors, and I kid you not, ALL of them are good. In fact, I struggled the past month trying to decide which one I liked the best. It's like trying to decide between ice cream or pie. Both are amazing. 

Not only are Quest Bars low-calorie, but they also pack around 20 grams of protein. They are low-carb and high in fiber content. For some, one Quest bar can provide 30% of the daily requirements for protein intake.

Flavors of Quest Bars

Natural Line
Banana Nut Muffin
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Cinnamon Roll
Strawberry Cheesecake
Coconut Cashew
Lemon Cream Pie

Original Line
Peanut Butter & Jelly
Apple Pie
Mixed Berry Bliss
Peanut Butter Supreme
Vanilla Almond Crunch
Chocolate Brownie
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
White Chocolate Raspberry

Most of the ingredients in Quest Bars are pretty straightforward. There are some which at first glance may seem unfamiliar. Let us break some of those ingredients down for you:

All Quest Bar flavors are made with whey protein isolate (a high quality protein that assists in increasing muscle mass, aids the body with fat loss, and enhances the body’s immune functions), milk protein isolate (a complete protein that slows digestion so it fuels you for longer), IMO fiber –or Isomalto-oligosaccharide fiber (almost all the carbohydrates in Quest Bars comes from this 100% natural fiber; fiber keeps your stomach satisfied for longer, improves digestive health, and prevents certain diseases), nuts and/or nut butter (almond, cashew, or peanut), sea salt and other natural flavors, Lo Han Gua (a natural sweetener used in China for thousands of years), stevia* (sweetener taken from the leaves of this plant from the chrysanthemum family), Erythritol* (a sugar alcohol that won’t upset your stomach and has only .2 calories per gram), and finally (only found in the “Original Line” of bars) sucralose (best artificial sweetener out there).

It gets better.

You can bake with them.

We're serious. In fact, there’s a growing trend of people creating different recipes with the bars. Most of them are pretty simple and take just a few minutes to make! For example, you can make poptarts (we’ll give you an example of this recipe at the end of the post), brownies, cinnamon rolls, and many more!

Because we love getting creative with our cooking, we decided to to try a few different recipes using our bars. One of our favorite recipe attempts was the Quest Poptarts. Here is what we did…

2. The Recipe

Quest Peanut Butter & Jelly Poptarts


For the top and bottom of the pop-tarts: 2 Quest Bars 

For the topping: 2 tablespoons protein of your choice 1 tablespoon nut butter of your choice

For the filling: 2 tablespoons of your favorite jelly or jam


Turn the oven on, set to broil.

Step 1: Start off with a  two room-temperature Quest bars. You can also choose to pop them in the microwave for ten seconds to make them easier to roll. Either way works fine. We chose the Vanilla Almond Crunch as our base. You can get creative with this part, and pick any flavor for this recipe.

Step 2: Roll them out.

Step 3: Cut them in half. These will be each side for your two pop-tarts.

Step 4: Prep your filling. We used a Raw Maple Almond Butter for one of our Pop Tarts. We used Raspberry Jam for the other.

Step 5: Put the filling of your choice in the middle of two of your pop-tart pieces. I used Raspberry Jam in this example.

Step 6: I used my thumb to create a little "indent" on the "top" piece of the pop tart. I then placed it on top of the piece with the jelly, and used a fork to press down along the edges. 

Step 7: Pop them in the oven. They should be ready anywhere from 2-4 minutes. Start checking on them around 2 minutes to make sure they aren't burning.

Step 8: Toss on some sprinkles and you're ready!

3. Quest Pastabilities & 
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Not only does Quest Nutrition make protein bars, but they also make two other amazing products: Quest Pastabilities and Quest Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cravings.

Quest Pastabilities is a healthy alternative to your standard noodle. Quest Pasta has only three ingredients: purified water, glucomman (a hunger-reducing soluble fiber derived from a root used in Japan and other Asian countries) and calcium hydroxide (also called milk of lime or limewater - a compound used in lots of different food products).

Prep takes just a few minutes. You start off by rinsing and straining it. Then you can cook it by microwaving or boiling it for a couple minutes. You can even toss it into a pan with your favorite vegetables for a delicious stir-fry.

And last...but not least, are the amazing Quest PB & Chocolate Cravings Cups.

These treats taste delicious and don’t leave you with the same “buyer’s remorse” like other chocolates do. They have 20 grams of protein (just like the Quest Bars) and only have one gram of sugar per serving (which is TWO of the cups). These are not your average peanut butter cups, my friends.

4. Giveaway Info

Obviously, we are big fans of Quest Nutrition's products and highly recommend you give them a try.

Which is why we are honored to say that our friends at Quest Nutrition have offered to provide a sample pack of Quest Bars to the winners of the health and fitness challenge at Make It Ultra

Our fitness challenge this month is “Water, Wall-squats, and Yoga."  The Quest Bars will be given to the male and female who can sustain the longest wall-squat (wall-sit) time. For details, go to our Facebook page.

A HUGE thank you to Quest Nutrition for not only creating awesome (and tasty) products, but for providing the prizes to our Fitness Challenge.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September Health & Fitness Challenge: Wall-Squats, Water & Yoga

AUGUST RECAP: The August Health and Fitness Challenge was a success, so we decided to keep the challenges coming. Before I get into the September challenge, I'm going to do a short recap of what went down for August. 

The challenge was: 1) Protein --assess your current intake and then your daily requirements, adjust as necessary 2) Push-ups & Pull-ups --see how much of each you can do at the beginning of the month and see how you improve by the end of the month. This is a good resource for learning how to do push-ups.  

This was a good challenge for me because I struggle in all of those areas. I knew I almost never ate enough protein, and my arm strength was laughable. I kid you not, at the beginning of this challenge I couldn't do a single push-up or pull-up.

I took this as an opportunity to educate myself on macronutrients and what my body requires for not only muscle growth but also for toning/ staying in shape. This is a good website for calculating how much protein you should eat on a daily basis. And apps like MyFitnessPal are good for tracking your daily food intake.

At the gym, I focused a lot on upper-body strength conditioning so I could improve my push ups and pull-ups. 

What's your favorite push-up variation? My favorite from this chart is 15 ;)

If you haven't already joined the Make It Ultra: Health & Fitness Challenges Facebook group already, do it now. Most of the posting happens on the group wall. 

So, onto this month's health & fitness challenge!

September Health & Fitness Challenge

Wall-Squats, Water & Yoga

Feel free to share this image on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter! The more the merrier!

1) Wall-Squats-- The challenge for this month is to see how much you can improve in your time over the course of September. 

2) Water-- Do you drink enough water? This month we challenge you to drink your daily requirement of water. Don't know how much you should be drinking? Here, here and here are calculators for your water intake. No excuses.

3) Yoga-- On the Facebook group page, we will be posting different yoga positions and encouraging group members to post photos of their favorite poses. We will learn about the history, styles, and benefits of yoga! 

Like last month, there will be a challenge giveaway! For the male and female who can sustain the longest wall-squat time, Quest Bars has agreed to gift a sample pack of their bars! If you are unfamiliar with Quest Bars, hold tight-- we're going to tell you all about them in our next blog post. Keep a look out! The way we will pick the winners is by comparing everyone's final wall-squat time on the Facebook page and then asking whoever claims the longest time to send us a video.

Looking forward to a fun filled month of health and fitness!