Things I’m Loving Lately: Easter Edition

Hello lovely people! I hope you had a fantastic weekend. Mine was busy training as usual. My blog has been down for a few days, which is why there wasn’t a Fit Foodie Friday post. The Bear is the technical mastermind behind the blog, and he was tinkering around with the server. Like the super hero that he is, the Bear was able to fix the server late Saturday night! Woohoo! We are back in business!

Just in time for Easter, I’ve been compiling some of my favorite odds and ends. My mom used to make Easter baskets for my brother and I all the way throughout high school! Confession: even at the age of 16, I looked forward to my Easter basket treats each and every year! You are never too old for Easter goodies!

Bobble Bottle – I love, love, love these water bottles! By coincident, I picked one up at Home Goods of all places. At first I was skeptical that water would flow freely out of the filter. I’ve heard bad reviews about the Brita water bottles, but Bobble Bottles are great! The water comes out quickly and tastes much better thanks to the filter. Since I’m working out of three offices these days (my life is crazy…more on that Friday), portable water is a necessity!

EOS Lip Balm – This is the best lip balm on the market! In the past, I had trouble with other lip balms making me break out around my lips. With EOS, I no longer have that problem because they use natural ingredients. I’ve been using this lip balm for over a year, and I have tried every flavor – Honeysuckle Honeydew is my fave! How cute would it be to get an EOS egg in your Easter basket?!

(Source)

Nakd Bars – These are my new favorite snacks! Each bar is 100% natural with no added sugar or syrups and are gluten, wheat, and dairy free. My fave flavors are Coffee Mocha and Ginger Bread!

(Nakd sent me a box of mixed bars, but as always, the opinions are my own.)

Origami Owl Fitness Inspired Jewelry – Last November, I bought a running inspired necklace from Origami Owl when I found out I was selected on Team Nutribullet to train for the LA marathon.  The thing I love about Origami Owl, is that you can completely customize the charms inside of the locket. It might be time to swap out the RUN charms for a few triathlon charms. :-)

There you have it! All my latest favorites! I’m sure any girl would love to get some of these in their Easter basket.

Running Fuel and Hydration

If you haven’t already figured it out from the title of this post, today we are going to talk about running fuel and hydration! As you know, my life has been revolving around marathon training, so fueling up and staying hydrated are always on the brain.

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As we have already established, I have gained weight during training. Quite frankly I’m okay with the weight gain. I’ve already come to terms with the fact I will not have a six pack by the time I go to Australia. Oh rats! Maybe I will…never! :)

But in all seriousness, it’s important to fuel up during long runs. I have been told to eat between 100 – 300 calories during a long run. Since I am a good student, I do as I’m told. I’m really an over achiever when it comes to the fueling up subject. I’ve tried just about everything on the market, but here are a few of my favorites!

During the run:

Clif Gel Shots – After an hour of running or before I get tired, I start fueling up with a gel. Some people can’t stand the texture of gels but I loooove the mocha flavor. Plus it has a little caffeine which is never a bad thing on a distance run.

Clif Bloks or Stinger Chews or Sport Beans- Starting around mile 7 or 8, I eat 1/2 a Blok, or 1 Stinger Chew, or 2 Sport Beans per every mile I run. This is my little mental trick for getting through each mile. To be honest I’ll do just about anything for food! I put the chews and beans in a small sandwich bag for easy access. I like to mix all three for some variety!

Stinger Waffles – Sometimes during the distance runs, I want to eat something that resembles real food. The Stinger Waffles are delicious and taste like dessert! I love the chocolate flavor.

After the run:

Zico Coconut Water – The perfect source of electrolytes after a long run. Plus you can find it at Trader Joes which makes my life easy.

Vega Protein Powder – Your muscles will thank you! ‘nough said!

Coconut Water + Chocolate Protein Powder = Mind Blown! My friend Gaby deserves a Nobel Prize for coming up with this combination!
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Nuun U Natural Hydration – I special ordered this stuff because it doesn’t have artificial sweeteners. It’s great during and after the run.
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Think Thin Bar – With 20 grams of protein you can’t go wrong. They are pretty tasty too!

There you have it! These are the fuel and hydration sources that keep me running.

Also, be sure to enter the Veggie Grill Giveaway to win 3 free entrees!

Question: What is your favorite fuel/hydration?

18 Miles + Veggie Grill Giveaway

Hey party people! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend watching the Superbowl with friends and family! Since I have absolutely no interest in football, I will be writing about running once again. But don’t fret! The second half of this post will be about amazing food and a giveaway!
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On Saturday I ran 18 miles for the second time. It was one of the most amazing runs I’ve ever had. I am starting to believe that I can actually run this entire marathon. I may have had a few doubts along the way, but this run reconfirmed that the training is paying off. Sure, there were a few bumps in the road which included blisters, a shin splint, and now a sore heel, but it’s all been worth it for that feeling after a successful long run!

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The ocean view didn’t hurt matters either!

After the run, Team Nutribullet provided us with yoga to stretch out our sore muscles and Nutribullet blasts to replenish our bodies. A few hours later, I was still hungry. I am always hungry these days, so my friend Gaby and I went to Veggie Grill, my new favorite vegan restaurant.

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As most of you already know, I have experimented with a vegan diet. I consider myself a “sometimes” vegan, so when VeggieGrill contacted me to check out their new Mindful Living Menu I was all over it!  When I found out that all Veggie Grill menu items are free of animal fat, dairy, eggs, cholesterol, hormones, antibiotics, trans fats, and high-fructose corn syrup, I was practically doing back-flips!

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The agave glazed walnuts were a perfect addition to the All Hail Kale Salad.

 

Since my stomach was basically eating itself after the long 18 miles earlier that morning, I almost ordered the entire menu. With the help from the manager, Gaby and I narrowed it down to the Quinoa Power Salad, All Hail Kale Salad, Buffalo and Mexi Mini Wraps, Chickin’ Tacos, and 2 giant cookies! <– All of this food only rang up to be $40! Not bad for a vegan restaurant!

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Both Gaby and I were impressed with the variety in each dish. The Quinoa Power Salad was one of my favorite combinations. Alex, the manager, convinced us to add vegan sausage to the salad which turned out to be the star of the show. We both had to remind ourselves that we were eating vegan food because it tasted just like the real sausage!

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We washed down our feast with organic ginger hibicious tea and fresh lemonade. Both were aaaamazing!
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I may have saved my cookie for a little RICE session later in the day. image

Lucky for you, Veggie Grill wanted to share the good eats with a giveaway. Enter below to win 3 free entrée coupons to any of the Veggie Grill locations (California, Oregon, Washington). The winner will be announced next Monday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Question: What is your favorite healthy restaurant? 

Nathan Running Vest Review

Hi friends! I hope you had a great weekend! I have to say my weekend was pretty fantastic even though I had a rough 16 miles on Saturday, but I found my “happy pace” at 11:30. Some runs are a little slower than others and this was one of them. One of the things that got me through the run was my Nathan HPL #020 Running Vest.
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imageHonestly I was very skeptical of a camel pack to begin with because I just didn’t think it would be comfortable. Since I am a thirsty runner, I was looking for something that held a lot of water. The handheld water bottles are great but I needed something more for runs over 12 miles. Then I found the Nathan running vest, which holds two liters of water, on Amazon for less than $70. If you have done any research into these vests you know that’s a steal as some of them go for $130 and more!

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Lucky for me, I received the vest for Christmas from my mom… just in time for marathon training. It’s been with me on my 12, 15, 18, and 16 mile runs and I would have never known it was there because it’s so light weight. I have to give Nathan credit for thinking of everything when they created this vest. The fabric around the straps is very soft so there is no issue with chaffing. It is also ambidextrous and can be used on your right or left side with comfort.
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The best part about this vest are all the little compartments on the back and front. My favorite are the front side pockets because you can store everything from fuel to a cellphone and even sunglasses in them. I’m definitely a pack rat! I like to be prepared for just about everything when I run. I have even been known to carry pepper spray with me! :-)
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If you are looking for a long distance hydration solution, the Nathan running vest might just be the answer!

Question: What do you carry with you when you run? 

The Honest Company + Giveaway

When I first started my journey toward a healthy life, I mostly focused on eating clean food but paid little attention to the external products.  That changed quickly in my quest for making a full lifestyle change. A few months ago I picked up a great book, The Honest Life.  The book was written by Jessica Alba, and if anyone has seen her lately, it is obvious that the girl is doing something right!

(Via)

As soon as I opened the book, I knew I would love it!  She organized the book with a chapter about each of the following: food, personal clean care, beauty, style, home, baby, and inspiration.  The Honest Life is well written and completely relatable.  Jessica admits on page one that she eats meat, doesn’t have time for cloth diapers, and doesn’t grow her own food.  She and her husband even love bacon!  She also admits that she has the money to eat completely organic and buy the crazy expensive Eco-friendly chemical free crib mattresses, but understands that most people don’t.

Throughout the book, Jessica points out dishonest ingredients, like petrochemicals, parabens, triclosan, and triclocarban, that can be found in many personal cleaning products.  After reading the book I rummaged through my bathroom and laundry room throwing out any of the “dishonest” products I could find.  After my impulsive spring cleaning (this was a few months ago), I made an order from The Honest Company to purchase 4-in-1 laundry pods, multipurpose cleaner, sunscreen, and dish soap.

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A week later, the cutest box arrived with all my “honest” products.  I absolutely love the sunscreen and use it on my face every morning.  It is a little thicker than most of the sunscreens I have used in the past but it does not make me break out which is a HUGE plus!  The multipurpose cleaner and dish soap both have a refreshing citrus scent, so I no longer feel like throwing up while I clean due to a nasty chemical smell!

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I love The Honest Company and trust that all of the products they offer are safe for my family.  A month ago, I contacted The Honest Company about a giveaway. They generously sent me two copies of The Honest Life by Jessica Alba to give away to two of my readers!

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Enter The Honest Life Book Giveaway by one or all of the six options listed below.  Be sure to mark that you entered through Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Two winners will be announced on Friday!

Android Blogging Apps + YouTube Video

Today I have a different type of post for you! Last week my friend, TK, asked me if I would be interested in trying an Android App called DashDroid for an XDA Developers video. I jumped at the opportunity after learning more about DashDroid, which is a quick solution to wirelessly transfer files between Android and Windows devices.  Pretty cool, right? I love that cables are not involved because I have history of losing them!  Plus, I popped my YouTube cherry! Check out the video below to learn more about the app.

I must be the only healthy living blogger out there with an Android phone becuase it seems like everyone and their mother uses iPhone only apps.  Since I am one of the few with an Android phone, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite Android apps.  Hopefully the five of you out there with Androids will find this helpful. ;-)

Android Blogging Apps

Analytics

If you use Google Analytics, this app is for you because it is great for keeping track of your blog traffic if you happen to be away from the computer.

Photo Grid

This app makes creating photo collages super simple. You tell the app which photos to add to the collage and it will automatically arrange the photos.  If you don’t like the arrangement just shake the phone!

Photo Grid

 You can also add fun backgrounds and stickers to the collage!

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Labelbox

This app works great on Android and iPhones. I love this app because it adds adorable labels to photos and it’s super easy to use.

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Photo Squarer 

I love this app for Instagram because is makes all photos square without cropping them. Plus, you can add a frame to the photo while zooming in and out.

Photo Square

PicsArt

This app does it all! You can crop, edit, and draw on pictures, but I like it to add pre-determined shapes to pictures.  I was never much of an artist!

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I like stars! :) Vegas Stars

My old pace makes me feel like a speed racer now!

There you have it! I hope that the few Android bloggers out there find this post a little useful.

Question:

What is your favorite Android app?

A Soulcal Celebration: Lululemon Warehouse Sale + Headband Giveaway!

On Saturday I went to the Lululemon Warehouse Sale at the LA Convention Center, and I most definitely embraced the crazy! It all started when my friend Carla told me about the sale early last week.  I did not think much of it but thought I would attend to see what it was all about.  It was not until Friday that I discovered what a big deal this sale was.  There have only been four other Lululemon warehouse sales ever, people were waiting 3-5 hours in line Friday to find a good deal, and it even had its own Twitter account with the most up-to-date information!

My day at the Lululemon Warehouse Sale went a little something like this…

5:30 a.m. Saturday morning I woke early to the sound of my alarm.  Confession: I was really up at 4:00 a.m. tossing and turning because I was so excited for the sale!

5:50 a.m. My friend Danielle met me at my house.  She drove all the way from San Diego. Danielle might be the only person who loves Lululemon more than me!

6:20 a.m. We arrived at the convention center only to see a line of what looked like 400 people.

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7:00 a.m. Starbucks opened!  Caffeine was needed for two sleepless nights!

7:30 a.m. With Starbucks in hand, Carla joined us, and the line started moving.  Are they letting people in early?!

8:00 a.m.  No, they just put everyone in another holding room until the doors open, but check out those prices!

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8:15 a.m. Entertainment started and we are so close to the entrance to Lululemon heaven!

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8:45 a.m. At last! We are in the showroom.  People are running to their size rack, but there is still a ton of goodies.

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9:00 a.m. My arm hurts!  Do I have too many clothes?! Never!

9:15 a.m. Found the jackets and swimsuits!  Triathlon training gear? Check!

9:30 a.m. Sort through all the clothes on the floor.  Oh, there is a 25 item limit? I better put some of this back.

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9:35 a.m. Discover the changing room, but there is a line.  Who needs a changing room?! I’ll just try on the swimsuit over my clothes.

9:40 a.m. More clothes are being brought out to the racks. Time for ROUND TWO!

9:50 a.m.  This is getting ridiculous, time to find Danielle and Carla to sort through everything one more time and check out!

10:00 a.m. An announcement is made, “The next 100 people in the checkout line get an extra 10% off!”

20130914_10114410:10 a.m.  Got the 10% off sticker! Checkout time! Bought 22 fabulous Lululemon items!

20130914_13462110:11 a.m. Sent a text to the Bear asking him not to divorce me!

I have to say that this was one of the most organized warehouse sales I have ever been to.  There were people constantly making the rounds to collect unwanted items, the racks were restocked regularly, and every employee was friendly and helpful.

Would I do it again?! Without a doubt! And I did! I went back on Sunday for even better deals.  I bought so many headbands that I am giving away one to 3 of my readers. I ran 12 miles with one of these headbands on and it stayed put the entire time, so be sure to enter the giveaway below through rafflecopter.

image(All three headbands are black even though it looks blue in the picture above)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Three lucky headband winners will be announced on Friday!

Have you ever been to a warehouse sale like this?  What is your favorite piece from Lululemon? Do you think it’s worth the money?

Chasing Raspberries Makeover

Chasing Raspberries has a new look! If you are reading this post on Bloglovin’ be sure to open the website in a browser so you can see the new layout!

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(Love this new monogram!)

About a month ago I reached out to the fabulous designer, Jen Montgomery, to create a logo and blog banner. Lucky for me, she agreed to cut out some time from her busy schedule over at Meat and Potatoes to create a logo for me. Naturally when she agreed, I was singing hallelujah!

Before I even knew about the blogosphere, I followed Jen on her blog. It’s two years later, and I still absolutely love her style.  She is one creative, witty, and talented lady.  If you follow Jen on Twitter, you are bound to be entertained.  Did I mention that Jen is the queen of puns?! Well, she is.

Taken at Ruby Jewel <http://www.rubyjewel.net/> in Portland, OR.

As a graphics designer, Jen has designed everything from logos, book covers, holiday cards, and even Disney dolls. Yet she still finds the time to design weekly illustrations that she shares on her blog, you guessed it, each week! Here are a few of my favorites:

Vitamin Kale

You can find her delicious kale smoothie recipe here!

Purple Paisley Peacock

I just love her illustrations! This is one of my faves!

I’m sure you can see why I was over the moon when she agreed to design a logo for me.  After some discussion about the colors and graphics (Hello Raspberries!) that I wanted, she designed this lovely logo!

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I wanted something simple, yet fun all at the same time. I think she nailed it!  What do you think of the new design?!

Book Review: Master Your Metabolism

It has been a long time coming for this book review.  If you remember back to my Don’t Drink Soda, Period post, I mentioned Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels several times as a reference. I simple love this book, and no, it’s not because we both have the same name. Master Your Metabolism has changed my view on dieting.  Even though I was eating pretty clean the first time I read this book, Master Your Metabolism pushed my eats to the next level.  I never knew how closely our hormones are tied to our metabolism, and how many environmental factors affect our hormones.

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Jillian breaks the book down into three parts: This is Your Metabolism on Hormones, The Master Plan, and The Master Tools.   I found Part 1, Your Metabolism on Hormones, the most insightful.  Jillian lists 12 (insulin, thyroid, estrogen and progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, human growth hormone, leptin and ghrelin) of the major players in the metabolic and hormonal scene.   She explains how each hormone is produced in the body, how it affects the metabolism, and how each hormone gets out of whack. One thing I took away from this part of the book was how important it is to get a good night of sleep.   Lack of sleep can throw so many hormones out of balance.  For instance, a University of Chicago study found that when people are deprived of their deepest stage of sleep, stage 4, their daily growth hormone levels dropped 23 percent.

In Part 2, The Master Plan, Jillian breaks down three steps to balance your hormones and master your metabolism.  The first step is to remove what Jillian calls “antinutrients” from your life.   These are things like hydrogenated fats, refined grains, soda!, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners. Jillian describes how each antinutrient throws your hormones out of whack, and in turn, slows your metabolism.  Jillian has a dictum that she says repeatedly through the book: only eat food that had a mother or grew from the ground.  Words to live by!

The second step is to restore, where you replace all the antinutrients with foods that trigger fat-loss hormones.  A few of these foods are legumes, alliums, berries (gotta have those raspberries!), cruciferous vegetables, and healthy meat and eggs. One of the best things I learned from this section of the book was that fruits and vegetables have a PIU number telling you how they were grown.  A PIU number with 4 digits means it was conventionally made, 5 digits with an 8 means it was a GMO seed, and 5 digits with a 9 means it’s organic.  The third and last step is to re-balance hormones.   Some of the ways to re-balance your hormones is by eating every 4 hours, eating until you are full but not stuffed, and combining foods correctly.

During Part 3, The Master Tools, Jilliian describes how important it is to remove other toxins, such as unsafe plastics and cleaning products, from your life. Another awesome tip: check the bottom of plastic containers to find out what it’s made from.  You want to avoid polyvinyl chloride (#3), polystyrene (#6), and polycarbonate (#7). Jillian also provides numerous mouth-watering recipes like grilled halibut soft tacos with orange salsa. Yum!  Finally, Jillian gives remedies for mastering more complex hormonal conditions.  One being to eat soy before menopause, and another, to take calcium pills to reduce PMS symptoms.

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Even though I have loved Jillian Michaels from the early days of The Biggest Loser and even followed her on her AM Radio show, I cannot say enough good things about this book!  The 17 years of experience and research is evident from the introduction of Master Your Metabolism.  I highly recommend everyone go out and read this book!

BBQ Chicken Tasty Bite Thai Lime Rice + Giveaway

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A few weeks ago Tasty Bite contacted me to try out a few of their products. Tasty Bite offers instant Indian entrees, Asian noodles, and rices. And I have to say, the Bear and I loved every single packet! The best part is that Tasty Bite packets have no preservatives or artificial flavors! Here is the proof:

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Tasty Bite sent me Kung Pao, Pad Thai, Channa Masala, Madras Lentils, Ginger Lentil Rice, and my favorite, Thai Lime Rice.

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This week we ate the noodles with a few extra fresh veggies like eggplant, carrots, and zucchini. Even though the packet says there are two servings, the Bear and I each ate our own packet because we were hungry! Both the Kung Pao and Pad Thai have about 500 calories per packet, which is not too bad for a dinner.

Over the weekend, I also made a favorite recipe of mine, Thai BBQ Chicken, with the Thai Lime Rice. Normally the recipe calls for rice noodles, but the Tasty Bite rice was delicious!

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BBQ Chicken Tasty Bite Thai Lime Rice
Prep time: 
Total time: 

 

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 packets Tasty Bite Thai Lime Rice
  • 1 cooked chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup snowpeas
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 celery sticks, cut into thin strips
  • 1 handful mint

Instructions
  1. Combine honey, tamari, lime juice, shallot, ginger and chili in a small bowl.
  2. Shred chicken breast and cover with BBQ sauce.
  3. Steam snowpeas in saucepan of boiling water for one minute until tender.
  4. Cook Tasty Bite Thai rice in the microwave for 90 seconds each.
  5. Add bean sprouts, celery, mint leaves, dressing, chicken, and snow peas to the Tasty Bite Thai rice. Serve and Enjoy!

 

The BBQ chicken adds a little something special to this dish.

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After my trip to Sacramento on Friday, I wanted a quick dinner when I got home. I decided to eat the Madras Lentils. Oh my! They were good and tasted exactly like my favorite chili from Whole Foods. Tasty Bite packets really are perfect for a dinner in a pinch.

The funny thing is that I had a packet of Channa Masala in my pantry and did not even realize it! I have been eating Tasty Bite packets for months now!

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Since I enjoyed the Tasty Bite packets so much, I figured I would share with my readers. I will be giving away the four Tasty Bite packages in the picture above.  Be sure to use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be announced Friday. :)

Have you ever tried Tasty Bite packets? What’s your favorite dinner in a pinch?