Product Reviews

ALOHA Only Means Hello to Me

Let’s be serious… I don’t wake up flawless.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m obsessed with ALOHA‘s Daily Good Greens. It’s a Whole Food Powder that promises to energize, boost the immune system, detoxify and hydrate. I’ve had it just about every day since November 1st and hate when I go a day without it. I first tried Aloha back in October of 2014. If my memory serves me correctly, I saw a sponsored Tweet about the Free Trial.

It was love at first sip and it gets me just a little bit closer to making me FEEL flawless each morning.

BeyonceALOHA is the Beyonce of the Whole Food Powders.

I buy the Blend Box which has the Original Blend, Chocolate Blend and Berry Blend.

Aloha also has “The Foundation” which is a 5 Capsule Nutrient Pack. I’ve purchased this before and liked this as well, but wanted to stick to just one thing for now. ūüôā Last, but definitely not least, they have a Superfood Chocolate Bar that is made with raw and real food ingredients. It’s organic, has hundreds of nutrients from superfood greens, is a serving of fruits / vegetables, high in skin beautifying antioxidants, sweetened ONLY by mineral rich coconut sugar and made with 60% fair trade certified cacao. Um, yes!

You can read all about their products, find great recipes and get a free trial by checking out their website. ¬†They’ve got a great online magazine that covers all sorts of great topics. For example, today’s “How to Drink Alcohol Without Ruining Your Healthy Diet“.¬†Um, yes please!

I’m super excited to announce that as of today I am an “ALOHA Ambassador”. ¬†What’s in it for you? Don’t worry there’s something ūüėČ When you use the code “DANICOTE” you’ll get 20% off of all your orders.

If you’re ever looking for great options to add the ALOHA Daily Greens to here’s a few different options:

  1. Check out the “Recipes” portion of the website.
  2. Social Media — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. Along with the hashtags #alohamoment #myaloha.
  3. Yours truly! I’m happy to let you know all the fun smoothie combinations that I make on a daily basis. I will end up posting more from here on out as well.

ALOHA only means hello to me… no farewell for this girl! ‚̧

Dine, Think - Speak - Inspire

Sunday Soul Food

Happy Easter! I hope you all had a wonderful day and had a chance to enjoy some time with your family and friends.

‚ÄúUnless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.‚ÄĚ ‚Äē Fulton J. Sheen

I started my day, by making a smoothie. Let’s just call it the Energizer Bunny.

Energizer Bunny

1 packet of Aloha (Chocolate)
4 dates
1 cup unsweetened Vanilla almond milk
1 cup carrots
1 banana
¬Ĺ teaspoon vanilla extract
¬Ĺ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup spinach

Then it was off to Pure Barre to take Julie’s 8am class and then teach the 9:15am. After leaving the studio, I headed to the store to put together an Easter basket. Talk about waiting until the last minute.

Basket

You’re never too old for an Easter basket.

Complete with some of his essentials – Cadbury Eggs, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites, Vanilla Creme Egg, Butterfinger Eggs, Reese’s Eggs, Nerds Rope, Bubble Gum, Peeps, Red Bull Cherry, Orange and Tropical.

I got home made a rather late breakfast, showered and then got ready to meet my parents for lunch. We decided to try out The Liberty. ¬†I’ve been there twice before – once for lunch and once for dinner, but no one else had been there before. They were doing a special menu for Easter Brunch…and it wasn’t a buffet, which was a GREAT thing for us ūüėČ

Brunch¬†started with Buttermilk Biscuits for the table. There were four different options for the first course and I chose ‘The Gatherer’ –¬†Tega Hill‚Äôs Tender Greens, Avocado, Roasted Beets, Toasted Pecans,¬†Bosc Farm‚Äôs Goat Cheese, Radish and Herb Vinaigrette. It was good – nothing out of this world. Randall and my Dad both opted for the ‘Southern Pickled Shrimp’ –¬†Belgian Endive, Watercress, Spring Onions and Champagne Vinaigrette. ¬†They both ate it all and said it was pretty good. Mom had ‘Peas & Carrots’ –¬†Salt-Baked Heirloom Carrots, English Peas, Bacon-Onion Jam,¬†Pea Tendrils, Baby Arugula and Buttermilk Dressing. ¬†There was no Bacon-Onion Jam on the salad, which is really sad – because bacon makes everything better! Boo. My Dad had originally ordered the She Crab Soup and was pretty bummed when they came back to let them know they were out of it.

For the Main Course we all got the ’24 Hour Slow Roasted Southern Ham’ –¬†Southern Collard Greens, Baby Green Beans, Smoked Gouda Macaroni¬†& Cheese, Apple-Cinnamon Chutney & Ham Hock Glaze. Everyone liked it – my favorite was the mac and cheese. No surprise there.

For dessert, I had the ‘Warm Chocolate Cake’ – French Merinque, Chocolate Sauce and Strawberries. As I type this, I just realized there was no strawberries on it, which isn’t a huge deal because I really just care about chocolate. ‚̧ My Mom had the ‘Salted Caramel Budino’ – Cookie Crust, Butterscotch Pudding and Whipped Cream. I tried a bite of it – it was good, but I liked mine better. Dad and Randall had the Bourbon Pecan Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream.

DessertIt was basically Chocolate Lava Cake. Delightful decadence. 

My favorite part was the dessert and the mac n cheese. Honestly, I like my Mom’s home cooked Easter cuisine better.

After I rolled myself out of there we took a few pictures before heading home for a breather.

Mom#1 Easter Bunny.

RandallMaking Roy G. Biv proud.

Late last night I posted the below picture with the caption, “I hope the Easter bunny comes tonight and brings me Play-Doh, bubbles, stuffed animals and candy like the good ole days.”

Easter

And I left brunch with this:

BunnyThe Easter Bunny is real, y’all.

The Easter Bunny is so attentive and thoughtful!

Before we got too comfortable on the couch, we grabbed a bottle of champagne, kumquats and headed over to our friend’s house to enjoy the rest of our afternoon / evening. ¬†I came across kumquats the other day at Trader Joe’s. One of the many things I love about TJ’s are the notes under every product that either give you a tip or more info about the product. The note under kumquats suggested adding to cocktails. Perfect. It’s basically a mini orange.

MimosaI may have had more fruit in my flute than champagne.

There was way too much delicious food and treats, but isn’t that always the case?! Let’s just say I’m looking forward to a green smoothie first thing tomorrow and making sure I load up on veggies! ¬†I know I mentioned this yesterday, but I need to get back on track – I was feeling so so good with our new way of eating and want to feel that way again.

“If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends. If broken by an inside force, life begins. Great things always begin from the inside.” – Jim Kwik

On Holidays, I always like to take some time to reflect on what that day is in celebration or remembrance of. If I’m not sure, I like to do my homework and fill myself in. I also like to think back over the years and remember all of the great times I had with my family and friends. There’s always certain things that stand out to me and often times leave me feeling very nostalgic as I day dream about all the bittersweet memories. Those memories give me motivation and inspiration to spend my time with those that I love to add more pages to the Book of Life (Danielle Cote Edition).

“Spend time with those you love. One of these days you will say either, ‘I wish I had’ or ‘I’m glad I did.'” – Zig Ziglar

Dine

‘Cause my smoothie is too Berrylicious for ya babe

I try to avoid taking pain medicine as much as possible, so figured I would try whipping up a smoothie this afternoon to make the pain go away.

There’s a rainbow challenge going on with The 30 Clean this week and today’s color is purple. Perfect.

Smoothie

This little concoction seems to be doing the trick…or maybe it’s just so delicious that I’m just not thinking about the pain. Either way, it’s a winner in my book.

3/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. maca powder
1/2 tsp. chia seeds
1 packet of Aloha The Daily Good – Berry Blend
coconut flakes (for garnish)
** fruit can be unfrozen so it’s not as thick

You could definitely play around with the portions depending on your flavor preference. Could add all sorts of goodies – spinach, cinnamon, coconut, strawberries, kale… you name it! Everyone knows how much I love the Aloha Daily Greens. I’ve never had more than one packet in day, but hey there’s a first time for everything. I’ll get lots done the rest of the day!

I’m pretty sure, Kelly, Michelle and Beyonc√© could not only handle this, but would most definitely approve.

Dine

Believe You Can and You’re Halfway There

I’m halfway through the 10 Day Fed Up Challenge, but hey, whose counting? Um, THIS girl. I haven’t been in hiding all week sulking – this week just got a little crazy!

By Monday night this is basically what my brain was thinking of.

Candy

Dramatic much? I was definitely obsessing what the next 9 days were going to be like after surviving Day #1. I realized very early on, this was going to be a very mental challenge. STOP thinking about SUGAR!

Reading this a couple of days ago made me feel a little better:

Sugar alters our biochemical pathways in our brain and tampers with our dopamine receptors. In order for us to get the next dopamine spike, however, we need a greater dose of sugar. That’s why out of the 600,000 food products in America today, 80% are laced with some form of sugar, and more specifically fructose, because it’s cheap and keeps us addicted.

Read the 6 other deadly truths about sugar from The 7 Deadly Truths of Sugar from Summer Rayne Oakes.

Tuesday rolled around and I decided to make another recipe from the¬†Thug Kitchen cookbook and also made something from a cookbook I had picked up at Kohl’s a while back called “Just Four Ingredients Fast! By Delish”. Figured if I was making something from Thug Kitchen (not the simplest recipes in the world) I should balance it with something quick and easy.

From Thug Kitchen, it was the 5-Spice Fried Rice with Sweet Potatoes. It was good, but think I would play around with the recipe a bit the next time I make it.

My quick and easy recipe consisted of eggs, bacon and tomatoes. Where’s the fourth ingredient you ask? I cut out the bread. The recipe? Chop up bacon and throw it in a muffin pan (sprayed with olive oil first), crack the egg over the bacon and throw in the oven for 15 minutes. ¬†Once they’re done add chopped tomato, salt and pepper. You could definitely add other vegetables, either prior or after cooking for even more flavor and variety. Voila!

Wednesday rolled around and I didn’t make it to class so figured I would go for a run before heading to the Charlotte Hornets game with some friends. I wanted to see if I felt better / worse / different when running, but it was hard to gauge since it’s been a while since I went for a run.

We had no plans to go out after, but you know how that goes… Luckily, I’m not a huge fan of beer/wine and there’s no added sugar to vodka. ¬†Hard part was when we went to a grab a snack after the game and everything on the menu seemed to have sugar in some shape or form.

My friends ate their food looking at me like:

Full House

And I was over there like:

Tic Tac

On Thursday, Pure Barre partnered with Luna’s at the Lake in Cornelius, NC to do a class at their boutique. Of course the class was followed by some light snacks – why do yogurt parfaits have to have sugar in them?! That night myself and three of the Pure Barre girls went to try FlyBarre and FlyWheel for the first time. I loved Flywheel. The music was awesome and I love that the lights are out. That way if I’m singing, making weird faces or crying about how I want a cookie no one will see me.

I can even do this:

PeeWeeOk, maybe it’s not that dark in there.

Friday, I went and picked up food for my boyfriend from The Burger Company. Of course, he asked if I would mind getting him a milkshake. Why, of course not as I just stare at it and drool. To make it worse, he was raving about how great it was.

TravoltaExcuse the language, but this was just too perfect…and Mr. Travolta said it, not me.

Today I woke up feeling great. I made a smoothie with Aloha Berry Blend, a ton of spinach, Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, pineapple and strawberries and took the Aloha Foundation pack. After taking class, I ran over to Harris Teeter and grabbed a banana and some pistachios. This whole sugar thing really isn’t that bad. Until I walk out of Harris Teeter and..

CookiesYou have got to be kidding me.

Alright, alright. All jokes aside. Let’s focus on the positives:

  1. I notice a difference in my energy level.
  2. I’m paying much more attention to whether I’m actually hungry or just bored.
  3. I’ve found most of the time when I want something sweet is right after I’m eating and MOST of the time the feeling goes away. This whole thing is definitely very mental. I definitely ate sweets every day for the most part and then factor in all that added sugar. Yikes!
  4. I’m paying attention to what’s in my food whether it’s something I am making at home or purchasing somewhere.
  5. I’ve lost 2 pounds. That wasn’t a goal, but I won’t complain.

Now, I’ve just got the rest of today, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then bring on the cookies. Kidding. The whole point of this is to regulate my sugar intake, be little more mindful to what I’m eating and cut back on desserts. I’m actually really enjoying finding alternatives and better choices along with doing some research about sugar and food in general.

Stay sweet, my friends.

Dine

Did Somebody Say Challenge?

I made a point on Friday to add watching¬†Fed Up¬†to my “To Do” list. Check.¬†I also mentioned the bag of Cookie Chips and Jalape√Īo Cheese Puffs I¬†had purchased. ¬†On the “To Do” list was not to finish eating those by the end of the weekend. Whoops. After watching Fed Up, I figured what better time to put my Thug Kitchen cookbook to use. At least I would be checking off another item off the “To Do” list.

I was actually so inspired (or maybe just looking for a challenge) by the movie that I decided to take the “Fed Up Challenge – Sugar free for 10 Days.” I repeat, SUGAR FREE for TEN days. For some of you, this may sound like a piece of cake (pun intended…clearly sweets will not leave my mind). ¬†For me, I have some type of sweet just about every day. All sweets aside, there is sugar in EVERYTHING. Did somebody say challenge?

Why not?Sure, why not?
Sign me up.

If you haven’t heard about Fed Up, it takes a closer look at what we as a country have been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years. It’s narrated by Katie Couric, who also happens to be the Executive Producer.¬†Here’s a little preview of what it’s all about:

The American Heart Association recommends no more than the six teaspoons of sugar (for women) a day. I never pay attention to just how much sugar I consume on a daily basis, but I’ll assume that I go way over this amount.

Chocolate

So, I’m doing this for several different reasons:

1. Pay more attention to the amount of sugar in the foods that I’m eating every day.

2.  See if I noticed a difference Рday to day and on day #11 (if I end up getting half a dozen cupcakes from Cupcrazed.

3. ¬†Force myself to cook more. Hey, my Mom gave me a Vitamix, Toaster Oven and knives for Christmas – I think she was trying to tell me something. It’s not that I don’t like cooking, but half of the time I wait until I’m starving and then opt to go grab something instead.

Day #1 was a success.

Breakfast – Aloha Berry Blend with Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, Pineapple and Strawberries. Not cutting out fruit. Yes, I realize there’s sugar in it, but your body processes whole fruit different because of the fiber in the fruit.

Lunch – Vegetarian Sushi Roll

Snack – Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Flavor Squares (they’re not Cheez-Its, but were surprisingly not too bad)

Dinner – Made the Cauliflower Cream Pasta with Fresh Herbs from the Thug Kitchen Cookbook. I added some grilled chicken and broccoli to it. I always forget that rice pasta seems to suck up all the sauce, so would definitely either make less pasta or more sauce next time.

I can’t wait to try out more from this cookbook – particularly, the desserts after I survive this challenge. Not saying that after day 10 is over, will I do my own challenge of a dessert only diet for 3 days straight or anything. I just know, I won’t cut out sweets forever and ever. I just want to cut back and have them every once in a while ūüôā

If you’re looking to cut back on sugar be sure that you’re not fooled. Here’s the 56 Names of Sugar. 56. Sheesh. I feel so deceived.

Hidden Sugar

Who needs sugar anyways when I’m already so sweet?

What about you? Do you have a sweet tooth? Or are salty treats your go to? Do you pay attention to how much sugar is in cereals, dressings, salt, everything-in-the-world?