Finding the balance of physical and mental health through adventures and fitness

Category Archives: Found

I have no issue getting crazy in the kitchen. I also have no issue hunting down products at the store to make my menu interesting. I notice that a lot of my friends are the same – fit and non-fit people, you know regular people exist too.

After someone reached out to me about Trader Joe finds, I decided to reach out to some of my friends and ask what they like to find at TJ’s. I thought I would try some of their finds, but also share them with you.

So first up. My friend Liz or @liz1315. Her TJ finds are super macro friendly and can be helpful for someone seeking lower carbohydrate options.

  1. Broccoli and Cauliflower vegetable patties. Macros per patty: 2F/6C/2P

I tried one plain with my lunch. I baked them and followed the directions on the box. They were awesome plain, but I tried them next with some roasted red pepper spread and a yolky egg. That was magical.

Next… something versatile. Rice cauliflower. I know my first thought was why would I do that. But after seeing some of Liz’s creations I decided to give it a try. It really is versatile and her and I have decided to do a post about the recipes and crazy stuff we come up with to eat on prep and in daily life to hit our macros. It’s going to be centered around this guy!

2. Riced cauliflower: Macros per 3/4 cup serving 0F/4C/2P

Next up, something sweet. My friend Alicia or @_alicia_h said Joe-Joe’s were the thing to buy. I completely trust Alicia here, she is also an excellent judge of doughnuts so I kind of have to. We still have a box of pumpkin Joe-Joe’s and peppermint Joe-Joe’s in the pantry. Both unopened just waiting until after competition season.

3. Joe-Joe’s. Macros per 2 cookie serving: 5F/20C/1P (slightly better than an Oreo)


Ali or @ali.widdis listed a few things such as flowers, cold pressed juice, but also said that she has to really want something because it’s a distance from her house and there are something that are pricey – it’s just a novelty thing.

4. Goat Cheese. Macros per 28g serving 6F/5C/6P (depending on flavor)

Spices, nuts and nut butter. Those are really reasonable to TJ’s. Here are some of my favorite.

5. Chile Lime seasoning. It’s good on eggs. It’s good on chicken, ground turkey and beef. It’s just good. Flavor is important, I don’t like sauces as much as I used to.


6. Bagel seasoning. It’s like the bagel, but without the carbs. So far I’ve mostly put this on my eggs, which I highly suggest you do. But Liz and Ali have found other carby sources to put it on to turn the average English muffin into a mock bagel of sorts. I imagine savory oats will be happening next week with this as well.

I don’t think the next one needs a reason to be purchase. It’s $1.99 and damn tasty.

7. No stir creamy peanut butter, I also have no stir chunky peanut butter.



Sometimes you just want to change up your protein sources. Chicken and ground turkey can get old. Sometimes you don’t want or like a salmon burger. The flavor on these is awesome and the macros aren’t bad either. I do think they could be a little more spicy, but if you don’t mind mild, you need to give these are a try.

8. Chile Lime Chicken Burgers. Macros per burger patty 6F/3C/19P

Breakfast is comfort food, well for me at least and I don’t think the next one needs an explanation at all.

9. Hashbrowns. Macros for 3 ounces: 0F/14C/1P

Also, a bunch of you came to the rescue and told me where to find unsweetened shredded coconut.

10. Unsweetened coconut. Macros for 1/4 cup: 20F/2C/2P

Here are some other things I’ve purchased at TJ’s that I think you should be mindful of as well:

  1. nuts – they are a lot cheaper at TJ’s than they are at most stores
  2. sushi – pretty tasty and macro-friendly enough meal when you’re on your lunch break
  3. mini peanut butter cups – 27 minis are a serving…that’s a ton of chocolate and peanut butter!
  4. chocolate covered espresso beans
  5. chunky reduced guilt guacamole – I don’t feel guilt eating guacamole usually, but this is made with Greek yogurt and you can consume a lot more for the same or similar nutritional value

A few sent me DM’s on Instagram about their favorite finds:

@jaynabean “chocolate croissants – I must have a box in the freezer at all times for when the occasion strikes.”

@woolandiron “rustic cinnamon graham crackers. They are so freaking delicious and have an awesome molasses taste. And the pink $2 Chuck. And the powdered chai. And frozen chicken gyiza/dumplings. I need to go to TJ’s now…”

Happy hunting!

❤ Cristina



I love Larbars, but I can’t alway fit them in my macros. I found these at Target by the other bars. It’s a mixed box of just Apple Pie and Cashew Cookie. Nutrition is exactly half a regular bar. Not 100% positive if they have other variety boxes, my Target only had this, but I do love these two flavors! 

Happy hunting! 

❤ Cristina 

My friend Alicia (@_alicia_h) told me about the BOGO sale at Vitamin Shoppe for P28 high protein spreads… well, that’s as good of an excuse as any to pick some up. I’ve seen the jars before and the flavors always sound good, but I have so much nut butter already that I need to be mindful when I’m buying it.

Coincidentally, with the recent move we finished 4 jars of peanut butter because  #onelessthingtopack. I opened the Cashew Caramel Turtle spread this morning to have on a slice of coriander raisin bread.IT WAS GLORIOUS.

The macros made me slightly nervous, I mean 18f that early in the morning is a lot to dedicate to nut butter, BUT, you can keep in mind that you don’t need to eat a full serving. 1/2T was the perfect amount for the slice of bread I had. Also, 44g is a huge serving compared to other nut butters, so having a quarter serving wasn’t an issue. I can give up 4ish grams of fat that early.

The nut butter itself has a great flavor. It’s definitely caramel-y, but I didn’t get much cashew. That could mean that I just need to get my spoon ready and try it plain. Similar to many nut butters you need to have patience with the fresh jar. It took me about 5 minutes with a butter knife to completely mix the oils and nut butter together. Once it was mixed though, it was a super thick and creamy jar of goodness waiting to be spread.

Again, I probably need to try it plain to see if the cashew flavor comes out or if it’s subtle, but I would recommend this for the nut butter lover who wants to branch out. I know I’m grateful that Alicia told me about the sale.

I also picked up a jar of apple crispy peanut butter, and once I finish off my jar of tiramisu from D’s Naturals, it will be making an appearance.


❤ Cristina

Over the weekend, I stopped by Vitamin Shoppe because they had a huge sale going on store wide. Sales are truly the best time to try new products. High protein nut butter is something that I see as an investment. A jar has a lot of servings and I better like it if I’m investing in a jar for myself. On the market there are a ton of brands and with each brand come a million flavors.

Here are some of the brands I’ve tried:

  • Nuts n More
  • D’s Naturals
  • Sweet Spreads
  • Buff Bake
  • You Fresh Naturals

Some specialize in a specific nut butter like Sweet spreads  – they specialize in cashew butter. Others have a variety of peanut or almond butters. I do not discriminate against nut butter and I buy from a lot of brands. This sale allowed me to purchase two new brands and flavors that I had been hesitant on acquiring.

This morning I topped my carrot spice protein pancakes with You Fresh Naturals Carrot Cake flavored Almond and Coconut spread. it was awesome. If you like almond butter then you will definitely like this. It’s pretty much the same consistency of almond butter, but there’s a hint of coconut. Since the flavor is carrot cake, there are pieces of pecans in it! Which I love and thought was a nice addition for some crunch.

Nutritionally, the macro nutrients are pretty good for a serving (see photo below). If you eat Nuts n More, they are about the same for macros so it’s just a matter of deciding on the flavor you need to bring into your life.

This brand has a number of flavors and because I’ve been cupcaking a lot lately, this one was fitting. I can’t wait to try other flavors when this one is gone even though I’m sure I will have a hole in my heart from the emptiness of the jar.

❤ Cristina




I was told by a commenter on Instagram that I should try Bounce Energy Balls as a protein bite/bar. I won’t lie, I was a little skeptical at first because I want to make sure that my protein is going to fill me up and keep me full for longer than 15 minutes. The Bounce Energy Ball is about the size of a ping-pong ball, so at first glance I wasn’t too sure. However, if it says it’s a good flavor I will probably be enticed to buy it. 

I found coconut macadamia protein bliss in cacao mint protein bomb, with names like those I really couldn’t pass them up.

Tonight as I was making dinner I had some room in my macros for a snack, so I dug through the pantry to find something new that I hadn’t tried before. I came across the coconut macadamia protein bless ball and figured why not. 

So again, at first glance you’re not so sure how good this ball will be, and mine wasn’t exactly a ball (see picture above). Though, the amount of coconut that cover this ball definitely intrigued me because I love coconut everything. 

This ball tastes is as if a KIND Bar and a coconut macaroon decided to get it on at a party and made little bouncing balls. It’s chewy like a KIND Bar, but the shredded coconut gives it something extra. 

I found these at Vitamin Shoppe and I haven’t looked for them anywhere else. I definitely recommend to anyone who has no idea about protein snacks or treats to find them and give them a whirl. I also recommend buying individual bars whenever possible so you can try different flavors of bars. You never know which bar you will live or hate and it would be a waste to invest in a box of something you won’t eat. 

I can’t wait to try the cacao mint protein bomb next! Has anyone found any ther flavors of these before that I should search for? 

❤️ Cristina 

Whenever I’m at a nutritional store, I look to see what’s interesting, what’s new and to find what I walked in for. When I was at Vitamin Shoppe recently, I came across another fit cookie, as I’ll call it. The Cookie Department calls their line of cookies fully functional, each one with the capability to help your body in some way. They have six flavors: Cherry Bomb, Tough Cookie, Snap Back, Great Full, Awaken Baked and Chocolate Chip Nookie. They have two sizes of cookies: break size, which is a single serve cookie and the original, which has two servings. I haven’t seen the original size in person, and who the hell thinks putting two servings in one package is a good idea anyway? That’s why I like pre-packaged things, so I can portion control easily!


The first one I had found was Awaken Baked. This was the first cookie that company created. It has caffeine equivalent to one cup of coffee and it very chocolate-y. I loved the flavor of this cookie. I love coffee and chocolate, so putting them together like this is genuis. The fact I could use it as an afternoon pick-me-up on the way tot a work function was even better. No one wants to smell coffee on my breath when I’m trying to shake hands.

The only issue I had with this cookie – I do believe I found a few coffee grounds in my teeth. Thankfully, I was able to get them before someone else saw them.



The next cookie I found and tried was the Snap Back. This cookie’s purpose: natural detoxifiers will “snap” you back to your normal self. Whether that’s true or not, we’ll let science take the lead on that one. This cookie was super soft and if you like the spice of gingersnaps or gingerbread this cookie is perfect for you. It’s sweet and spicy and it was a sad few minutes when I realized I had eaten the whole cookie.  This was actually one I brought with me to my Saturday ritual coffee outing. It was perfect with a cup of medium roast. This one is my top favorite out of all the cookies made by The Cookie Department.

My third experience of The Cookie Department was their sweet potato and oatmeal cookie called Great Full.  This one accompanied me on a business trip and it was a perfect close to a long day of driving. This was my second favorite and if I believed in tying for first, this would tie with Snap Back. This is the cookie you get if a sweet potato eyed up oatmeal at a party and said “I want to take advantage of you.” Similar to Snap Back there’s a little spice from the molasses in the cookie. This was super chewy and instead of raisins, there were cranberry pieces baked in.

The fourth cookie I tried was the Cherry Bomb. Sadly this little guy was crumbled in its packaging, but that made for a very interesting addition to my chocolate gelato sundae the other night. It had pieces of cherry in it, which I thought was a great addition. I love things that bulk up a cookie – nuts, chocolate, fruit. I like things with a little texture, but not a lot. This cookie, however, was dry. It could’ve been close to the expiration date, but I know that the Snap Back was actually a few days after its proposed date and it was super soft and chewy – it tasted homemade. It could’ve been the batch, but regardless this was my least favorite cookie that I tried.
I’m in search of the last two flavors: Tough Cookie – a peanut butter cookie, and Chocolate Chip Nookie – I think you know what that one is. These are only found at Vitamin Shoppe and the web site only allows you to buy full boxes. So I’m on a quest to find the last two – sadly, I’ve checked three different stores, but I may call another one near me. Desperate times, call for desperate measures!

If you find yourself in need of finding something to fill up your carbs, this is a cookie to consider. They’re low in protein because that’s not their function, but they’re also lower in fat. Most of the cookies are 5f, but the Tough Cookie appears to be the fatest cookie with 9f – reasonable though since peanuts have healthy fats in them.

I have plenty of other things I’m excited to try. If you want to know about protein bars – check out my instagram on Saturday mornings – that’s my favorite time to try new bars, but I do post about new ones often!
Talk to you soon!

❤ Cristina

I have a sweet tooth, but I try to keep it tame. I had been researching protein mug cakes on Pinterest because where else would I look for recipes like that. In my time searching I found two different pre-made, buy it now microwave muffins. The first is made by the fabulous people who bring us Power Cakes and Kodiak Cakes Pancake mix.

With a number of flavors on the shelf, my basic white girl came out and I immediately grabbed the pumpkin muffin… I may have also grabbed double chocolate because YES. Keep in mind this isn’t a type muffin that you bake in the oven. It’s much more dense and wayyy more moist. Add a little water, stir and microwave for 1 minute, give or take a few seconds and viola! Perfect pumpkin muffin and it’s only August.

Makers of Kodiak Cakes now make muffins!

The second muffin is one I actively sought out because it’s from Flap Jacked the makers of protein pancake mix that I buy religiously. These take 30 seconds in the microwave and are super fluffy and moist. They’re a lot more filling than you would imagine, but I suspect all that protein has something to do with it. Now if only they had a carrot cake one or pumpkin one with that much protein and I would be in heaven. These are new to their product line up, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for new flavors in the future!

❤ Cristina