The Kayla Movement and Scary Goals

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I hope your 2016 has been going splendid so far. The #kaylamovement started this week and it has rocked! Seeing all the amazing inspirational women on Instagram has helped to keep me motivated during the recent cold mornings when that last thing I want to do is get up and workout. In the winter the last thing I want to do at 5 a.m. is get out of my warm bed and workout. Brr. I hate that though because I really enjoy morning workouts. I can’t wait for summer and nice weather again so I can jump out of bed and get to it.


You might be thinking, “What in the world is The Kayla Movement?” Well good thing you asked 🙂 because I can answer that question. The Kayla Movement is a ‘movement’ announced by Bikini Body Guide (BBG) creator Kayla Itsines. She announced that on January 5, 2016, herself and anyone who wants to join her will be starting BBG 1.0 from the beginning. This would create the largest worldwide exercise experience. YAY! So far it has been awesome. Since I am almost through BBG 1.0 I decided to just keep on with it, complete the guide and start BBG 1.0 over. I am presently in week nine and it has been brutal. Kayla really turned up the intensity.


Another thing I have focused on so far this year has been my 2016 goals. Up until this year I never gave much thought or consideration to them. I feel like I spent a lot of my adulthood so far just going with the flow of things and taking what comes my way and making the best of it. I realize now that while flexibility is an important trait to have that it isn’t helping me pursue or achieve things that I have wanted to accomplish for a while. Has anyone else been making ‘goal lists’ at the beginning of the year but all the goals you wrote down are actually to-do’s?

If you have, know you aren’t alone. I realized that all my ‘goals’ where actually to-do’s. Things that I needed to do regularly but was being lazy about or things that I knew I could accomplish with little to no effort. When I realized this I knew I had to change that. I tossed out the first list and took some serious time to reflect on what I wanted. I feel like goals should be things you work towards that might scary you, that might be really hard or that you have absolutely no idea how you are going to do them. Those are the things that I want to take on this year. That one scary thing that I have talked myself into and out of for the past eight years has been going back to school.

This goal really scares me. It’s a big one! I haven’t been in school since 2010 and up until November of 2015 I kept making excuses for why I couldn’t do it. I went through a whole list of negative self talk but, then I took a step back and said, “Debbie, you are the only one who is holding yourself back. You keep saying you want this but then go about tearing down everything.” I see now that was because I wasn’t ready. I still needed to do some things before I made a commitment to go back to school. Now, I’m ready. I applied to a local school and I am waiting to see if I am accepted. I am not ready to publicly discuss what I am pursuing. I will talk more about that in later posts and after I find out if I get into the program.

I feel like a lot of this newly found courage and self-confidence I have has come from starting BBG. You might be rolling your eyes right now but let me explain. I feel that by sticking with this program for the past nine weeks I have gained strength, a positive mindset, courage and self-confidence. I have shown myself that by working hard I can achieve things I’ve wanted to achieve for a while. I think I needed a little self-confidence to help me gain the courage and positive mindset to not only keep working out to stay healthy and fit but, to pursue my goals and dreams that I thought for a long time were unattainable and that I wasn’t good enough to have.

I know that the road ahead is going to be hard. Oh gosh, I know that! But I am ready for this. I feel like I have gone through everything I have to prepare me for this next step.

2016: Strong, Healthy, Happy

I can’t believe that it is the last day of 2015! This year went by so fast. I remember when I was a little kid I used to think that time went by so slowly, but now that I am an adult I am continually amazed at how fast each year goes by.

This year has been a great one. At the beginning of 2015, I was still suffering with terrible anxiety and was completed stressed out. I really was in a bad place, but I turned this year around. I was determined to take back control of things. This morning as I was reflecting on the beginning of the year I realized all the hard work I have done to pull myself up and turn it all around. I didn’t realize it, I guess when it’s your life you never do, until this morning during my yoga practice, that I have accomplished a lot this year. I am so grateful for the strength I gained to make 2015 a wonderful year.

At the beginning of this year, I was in a terrible spot. I hadn’t really exercised in over a year. I was completely stressed out from work and my personal life that I felt sick, tired and miserable most of the time. My eating was absurd and I felt really out of control. I remember waking up one morning and thinking how did this happen? How did I let myself get like this? That was the day I decided I needed to make a change.

I decided to start practicing yoga every morning to help me start the day a little less stressed out. After a solid practice I would journal and try and get out all the toxic feelings and emotions that were inside me. When this began to help I started looking at my diet. I have been gluten free for over ten years now and up until April of 2015, I had been vegan for two years. I realized that my diet wasn’t working for me anymore and something needed to change. I decided to start slowly eating meat again after talking with a close relative in the medical field. In the beginning, I didn’t see any changes but I slowly started noticing a difference when I would go for walks in the evening. I felt less drained and tired during and after. Next, I examined the other foods I was eating and it made me so upset. Somehow I let junk food become an everyday affair. These were things I hadn’t eaten in years! So I slowly began tossing all the junk from my diet and adding in more whole, fresh foods and my body started thanking me.

During this time, I also decided to go back to how I was eating before I started having all these problems. I brought back my morning protein smoothie, a healthy morning snack, veggies and carbs for lunch and a protein packed dinner. By May, I began to notice a great improvement. I started to feel better, my stress levels felt lower, my energy was increasing and my anxiety was slowly disappearing. It was around this time I realized I needed to begin exercising again. I wanted to get into a habit of doing something active everyday. I began taking long walks at night which was wonderful. The walks not only got me moving but they helped me clear my head. I had always been an active person. I played sports in grade school, high school and college and always liked being outside doing something active. I realized I had to bring this back into my life.

In August, I rediscovered Kayla Itsines on Instagram and her BBG guides. I had seen the BBG program advertised here and there over the years and had even been following a few amazingly, inspirational women on Instagram who used her guides but I never thought it was for me. I thought it was too hard and I wasn’t ready to start something like that.

In September, I decided it was the right time and I took the plunge and purchased her BBG 1.0 guide. I am now in my eighth week of using her guide and I am amazed. 🙂

In the beginning, I could barely do the workouts. I struggled through every rep, I felt defeated and very much like a failure, but then I realized that there is a whole community of supportive and inspirational women who are doing the same program and some who have felt the same way. I turned to the BBG community for support and encouragement and I was welcomed with open arms. These women have helped me stay motivated and realize that as a woman we all go through these hard times but by sticking together and encouraging each other we can make it through. For that, I am grateful to Kayla Itsines.

This is the longest I have ever stuck with one exercise program. This is also the longest I have ever been continually motivated to workout. This is the first time in my entire life that I have realized how important exercise is and how good I feel after a good sweat.

2016, I am coming for you! It’s going to be a wonderful year. I can feel it. I feel like I finally got my life back and am in control. I feel healthy, my mindset has changed, no more anxiety, no more being stressed out everyday. I am beyond grateful to be sitting here typing this. I feel so much love and appreciation for this wonderful year. <3

In 2016, I plan on sticking with BBG and will start using the new app after I finish 1.0! Ah! I can’t wait to join all the other women in 2016. I am going to work on becoming physically stronger and I plan to start running again. My goal is to run five miles continually with limited walking breaks.

Here’s to a rockin’, healthy, happy New Year!



New Workout Routine

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The past month and a half has been a whirl-wind over here. My husband and I moved into our house, two weeks later I started a new job and one week after that he started back to school. The summer flew by and now we are into October! Can you believe that?


October is my favorite month. It has holds loving memories and is so pretty and refreshing from the hot summers here in Georgia. For me everything in October smells wonderful too. Do you every think that? All the leaves are changing colors and starting to collect on the edge of lawns around the neighborhood. I can smell people burning leaves and having fires. Also, in Georgia we begin to get relief from the humidity which by the end of the summer can really be unbearable. Along with all those things October is also the month that David and I got married. 🙂 It feels like I blinked and here I am two years later.

After starting my new job my everyday life changed very quickly. Previously, I was able to make my schedule and had more time throughout the day to do personal things along with work related things. Now I have to plan my days more carefully than before to keep on track with food and exercises. Another thing that is different now is that I sit for nine hours a day which I don’t mind doing but by the end of day I am ready to get moving. This led me to switch-up my workouts and add more HIIT workouts.

I don’t know about you but after sitting for that long I feel gross and really look forward to the 40-60 minute workouts. At first I was trying to create my own workouts but I just couldn’t make that work so after years of seeing thousands of amazing women use Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide  I decided to give it a go. I purchased the 12 week Bikini Body Guide also known as BBG1.

I love how the guide comes as an e-book! Having the ability to use the guide online or on one of my electronic devices instantly after purchasing it gave me extra motivation to begin the program. I saved the guide to my Dropbox account and access it on my phone, laptop or tablet depending on where I am working out. Super convenient.

I read the entire guide from front to back after purchasing it to know what I was getting myself into. I strongly suggest this to everyone starting the program. Kayla offers a lot of helpful tips and helps familiarize you with the language of the guide.

Upon first review of the workouts I thought to myself they look too easy but I quickly learned after my first legs and cardio day that I was mistaken. During my first workout my legs were shaking and my heart was racing but it felt good. Each workout is just long enough too that you don’t lose focus. I love that. By the end of the workout I still had time to cook dinner, eat, relax and prepare my lunch for the next day. It is so convenient and I can’t wait to see the results at the end of the 12 weeks. AH!

Along with the guide you can buy a Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Plan (HELP) guide that gives you meal plans and other healthful tips towards clean eating. I didn’t buy this because I eat healthy now and I didn’t feel I needed to make any more dietary changes. Also, with all my food allergies and stomach related issues I wasn’t sure I wanted to change anything at the moment. My main goal with the program is to get in better shape, have more stamina and get my blood moving after sitting all day. Also, I would like to see myself gain a little more core and upper body strength. Psst…Arms and Abs day in the guide is actually my favorite day. 🙂

In September I discovered acai bowls. I know. I know. Where have I been right? Well, I never had one before so I thought I would give it a go and AH they are delicious. I purchased the acai smoothie packs from my local farmers market and blended it with frozen mangos and a little rice milk. Since I got the unsweetened acai the frozen mango added just enough sweetness. One thing I LOVE about acai bowls is that you can load up on toppings! Amazing. I added some granola, sliced banana, PB2 and blueberries. I am so happy I started making these. I love the added energy I feel after eating them too.


Conversation Corner:

– What is your favorite month? 

– Do you eat acai bowls? If so, what is your favorite way to prepare them? I am looking for different ways. 

Moving recap and R. Thomas Deluxe Grill

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Happy Monday to you!



I thought this fit perfectly in this Monday because it is a beautiful day. I am healthy, safe and loved. That makes any day a beautiful day. 🙂

Whew! Last week was busy and this weekend seemed to fly by. In my last post I talked about getting rid of clutter as we ready to move. We made it successfully into our new home and things have gone great.

On moving day we were able to successfully move everything from our old place to our new place in 2 car loads — with there being 4 cars — and 1 truck. We rented a truck from Home Depot and I am so glad we did. It was super affordable and easy to rent and return. We only had to rent the truck because we couldn’t fit the bed and stationary bike we had into any of the cars.

At 11am on Friday, July 17th we got the keys to the house.


I was ecstatic! Around 12pm we started to move our things and by the time we finished at 5pm we were all exhausted and starving. Since all our kitchen equipment was still in boxes spread out around the new kitchen we decided to head out to grab some grub. I was craving nutrients. Does that ever happen to you? Do you ever feel like you just need to eat some food that has a lot of nutrients in it?

We settled on one of my favorite restaurants here in Atlanta, R. Thomas Deluxe Grill. R. Thomas is open 24 hours 🙂 and they offer a variety of healthy food choices. You can eat vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, raw food and gluten-free all from the same menu. It is pretty great! The atmosphere is pretty unique. Parrots line the walkway to the entrance of the restaurant and the dining area is one medium-sized room that is outside. They have enclosed the area with plastic tarps and it is heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer making it suitable for use all year round.

One of my favorite things about R. Thomas Deluxe Grill is that they have served healthier food choices since before it became popular. They use free range chicken, organic grains and veggies, cold pressed oils, homegrown herbs and fresh water vegetables to name a few ingredients. I just love that! I haven’t found another place in Atlanta that offers these same ingredients. Well, at least not yet. If you live in Atlanta and know of a place that does please let me know. I’d love to go check it out.

Some of my favorite items on their menu are; the Thai Express bowl (delicious!!), their fresh pressed juice and smoothie section and their veggie section. I knew exactly what I wanted when we sat down. The veggie plate. This selection allows you to pick 4 different mini bowls of various veggies, grains and veggie proteins. It’s by far my favorite.


I chose mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon, snow peas and shredded carrots, fennel and broccoli and rosemary quinoa. It was exactly what I needed. After finishing our plates David and I headed home to spend our first night in our new place. As soon as my head hit the pillow I was out.

Conversation Corner: 

– What is your favorite restaurant? 

– What do you get when you go out to eat? 

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Getting rid of clutter

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For a little over 3 years I have lived in the same apartment. It has been my safe haven and the first place I have really called home since moving to Atlanta in 2011. After David and I got married we decided to stay living in the same apartment I was already living in. While this made financial sense at the time it never really felt like ‘our’ place which I really didn’t like. So this year we decided we would find a new place to live and make it ‘our’ place.

I am happy to announce that in 10 days we will be moving to a house! We are both beside ourselves with excitement. I am so thankful to finally be moving into a place that will be ‘our’ place. Plus, I’m really looking forward to having a washer and dryer, central air and a backyard. In the South having central air is a necessity. I learned that the hard way folks.

I laugh every time I say it but we are already packed! ha! The night we found out we were approved for the house David started packing the apartment. 🙂 We have been packed and ready to go now for 2 weeks. We still have 10 days left lol. Well, we still need to back the kitchen and some clothes and bath towels we have been using but other than that we are ready to go. It is unbelievable.

We went from this:


To this:

packed up

In a day. 🙂 Obviously, the picture above doesn’t have our furniture in it.

This move got me thinking about a topic that I find important — decluttering.

I don’t believe in having a lot of things. All the things I have I use everyday. All the clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. I have I wear and use regularly. All the furniture I have I use and it all has a purpose. I didn’t always believe in this. I used to have a lot of ‘stuff’. I had clothes I never worn, bedding I never opened, knick-nacks all over the place but when I moved to Georgia I began shedding these things and in doing so I found a sense of who I really am and what I really need to live.

Over time I slowly began getting rid of more and more excess things. I began to realize that the fewer things I had the more clear and calm my mind became. I had time to focus and think about other things rather than all the ‘stuff’ I had. I felt like I could breathe easier and things felt cleaner.

When David and I moved in together things began to feel cluttered and chaotic since we were now combining all our things together. Luckily, David believes in the same philosophy and happily helped make the apartment organized and clutter free. However, we comprised on the books. We have A LOT of books. David loves reading just as much as I do and doesn’t want to part with any of the books he has. I understand this and don’t mind it. Together we have a personal library as you can see from the above picture. 🙂

Keeping the apartment clutter free and organized helped us to pack the whole apartment in a day. This helped eliminate any stress or anxiety commonly associated with packing.

I know that a lot of people get stressed about moving. Lets be honest, moving is hard and a pain; but, if you slowly are eliminating things you don’t need over time when it comes time to move you will feel less negative emotions and more positive ones. Like EXCITEMENT! 🙂

To help our home stay feel from clutter and unnecessary things — once every 3 months we actively go around the apartment and evaluate if we really need what we have.

The best advice I have for you if you are trying to decide if you really need to keep anything is to ask yourself this question –When was the last time I used whatever the item in question is.

If the answer is 1 year or longer than you should get rid of it.

If you answer — I forgot I had this — definitely get rid of it.

If you answer — I think I’ll use this — keep it for another few months and if you don’t use it by the next time you are evaluating your things then get rid of it.

Another way to help your home stay clutter-free is to organize. Organize everything! Don’t just toss things into your fridge — organize them. Have a shelf for leftovers, food you’ve prepped, drinks, snacks, etc. Organize all your bills, papers and your desk! You know what I mean. I am guilty of it too. Who hasn’t just tossed their mail onto their desk and before long you can’t even see the actual desk?

My final piece of advice is to be realistic! If you aren’t using it get rid of it. If you don’t need it get rid of it. I know this can be hard but the more you eliminate unnecessary things from your living space the more space in your mind you’ll open up for all the things your weren’t able to hold before.




Conversation Corner: 

– How do you stay free from clutter? 

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4th of July – Weekend Recap

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I hope you are reading this after a relaxing weekend. I took time to enjoy my days off this weekend by spending it with family and friends.

Saturday morning David headed down to the Peachtree Road Race to run in the annual 10K race. For the past 4 years I have run the Peachtree but this year my heart just hasn’t been in running. Back in February, when registration opened for the race, I just didn’t feel that I would be motivated to run over the next few months in preparation for the race.

It was one of the best decisions that I ever made. 🙂 Listening to your body is so important. When David and I awoke on the 4th it was raining and there was thunder and lighting. Typical of weather here in Atlanta there was also flooding due to the heavy rain. As he headed out to the race I became a little worried with the weather conditions. I don’t know how David, his Dad and David’s good friend finished the race. It was raining, cold and gross out. I am so proud of him and everyone that pushed through and finished the race. WAY TO GO!



He looks exhausted in this pic 😉

While they were running the race I headed out to meet some friends and head down to the parade here in our city. The rain delayed the parade for about 20 minutes but people were still out showing their patriotic spirit. It was a fun start to the morning.

After that I headed over to my in-laws to collect David and spend the rest of the day relaxing, eating food and watching fireworks. For dinner I made a taco buffet.


It was quick and simple to make.

First, I measured my rice and water into the rice cooker. Have I told you how much I LOVE my rice cooker. It is the best. I can’t imagine cooking rice any other way. The rice takes 30 minutes to cook so while that was doing its thing 😉 I cut up some grape tomatoes, jalapeños, fried some onions and chopped up some lettuce and mushrooms. Next, I heated up some leftover chicken strips we had from the night before. I cut up some plantains and fried them in a little grape seed oil and dusted them with cinnamon and opened up a can of pinto beans. Finally, I plated everything and brought it out to the table so we could create our own taco bowls.

After I finished the dishes we headed out to watch the fireworks. I feel so grateful to live in such a wonderful area here in Atlanta. Both of us can easily walk, bike or drive to all the places we need to go which is so uncommon for Atlanta.

Yesterday we spent the day at a 5th of July party eating food, talking and soaking up all the good energy of the day.

It was a great weekend.

Conversation Corner: 

– How do you cook your rice? 

– What did you do for the 4th? 

4th of July 2015

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4th of July



David is running the Peachtree Road Race this morning with his Dad. I wish David, my father in-law and all the other runners out there good luck. It isn’t going to be too hot which will be nice for running.

I will be attending a parade here in the city then at night David and I will go see fireworks together and have a cookout. 🙂

For those of you who are trying to eat healthy I understand that parties and cookouts  might seem stressful. I want to you to know that they don’t have to be.

Here are some of my tips for eating healthy at parties and cookouts over the 4th and throughout the year.

Bring your own dessert/food. All the parties and cookouts I’ve been to the host is more than grateful when you bring something extra. If your going to your friend’s house for a party don’t feel weird being the one bringing the bowl of fruit or slices of watermelon (mmm watermelon). In my experience when people have the option to eat fruit or a sweet treat they usually eat the fruit. Plus, you guarantee that you will eat the  food that you brought with you. This is especially great for people who are trying to eat allergy friendly.

Pile on those grilled veggies. 🙂

Listen to your body. Do you really want __? Do you really have a craving for it or is it just there and now your mind is telling you to eat it. Those are 2 different things – craving something and your mind telling you to do something. Learning to recognize the difference is the key to intuitive eating.

DON’T STRESS ABOUT IT! If the whole time you’re at the party your worrying about eating the wrong foods or not making healthy choices than you won’t. Sometimes its easy to get caught up in our heads and not enjoy the moment. This enables us to make bad choices. Think positive and enjoy yourself!

Have a safe and wonderful day!

Conversation Corner: 

– What are you doing for the 4th? 

– What are your tips/tricks for eating healthy over the holidays? 

The Free Cookie

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Last night I finished off the last slice of my birthday cake. My birthday was a few weeks back and this year I wanted a special cake to celebrate so I turned to my favorite allergy friendly baker The Free Cookie.

I first discovered this hidden gem in a local health food store here in Atlanta a few years ago. Unfortunately, the store closed down at the beginning of this year and I wasn’t able to get any sweet treats for a while. Until I stumbled across their website in April. Thank goodness I did!

The Free Cookie is a mother daughter duo based in Lilburn, Georgia. Tiffany and her mother Brenda have created some of the best baked goods I have ever had. They offer a variety of products that are both vegan and gluten-free.

I am so happy I was able to connect with them outside of the health food store. I emailed them and got a copy of their order sheet. There are so many choices. I didn’t know what to get. In the end, I decided I wanted a yellow cake with cream cheese icing for my birthday. Yea, I know. I went a little overboard but hey everyone deserves a special treat on their birthday 😉




It was worth every bit! The yellow cake was fluffy and moist. It practically melted in my mouth. The cream cheese icing was the perfect touch too. It made the cake decadent – perfect for a birthday celebration. 🙂

All of their products are able to be frozen. I love this about them because David and I couldn’t have eaten the whole cake within a few days after getting it. I sliced the remaining cake into nice sized pieces and froze them in glass containers. Every time that we wanted a slice of cake we just grabbed one out of the freezer, stuck it in the fridge and let it thaw for about 30 minutes. It tasted just as fresh as the first day we got it.

Ordering from The Free Cookie was a breeze too. I just emailed Tiffany and Brenda what I wanted, along with the date I wanted it and they delivered it right to me. They will deliver to anywhere in metro-Atlanta. Yay!

Next on my list to try are the Strawberry Cupcakes 🙂



Converstation Corner:

– What is your favorite sweet treat? 

– Have you ever tried anything from The Free Cookie? If so, what did you have? 

2015 Changes

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At the end of a very challenge 2014 year I made a promise to myself. I committed to making some life changes and seven months into the new year I decided it was time for an update on how things are going.

After 2 years of being vegan I realized I had to close that chapter of my life and add some meat back into my diet. My diet remains heavily plant-based but after a full year of never-ending health issues I realized I just wasn’t getting the protein and nutrients I needed to be healthy.

That is just how my body reacted to being vegan. I am not saying nor have I ever said that eating one way over another is the right way to live. I believe that everyone’s body is different and you have to go through many trial and error periods to realize what works best for you and your body. For me personally, I wasn’t getting enough protein which caused me to become anemic. Also, I developed a negative reaction to soy from consuming soy products that were mimicking protein sources. To keep my body healthy and functioning optimally I needed to add meat back into my diet.

Before I decided to go vegan I was eating a heavily plant-based diet with 2 meals a week containing fish. I decided to go back to this eating style since it worked for me so well in the past. Shortly after adopting this eating style again I began to notice positive improvements in my health. My energy levels where increasing, I wasn’t exhausted after a workout, the anxiety I was experiencing began to subside and the breakouts I was having (from soy products) began to clear.

I’ve also gone back to eating my morning ‘nice cream’ bowls which I had given up for something more substantial but honestly these work best for me in the morning.


Banana + Almond Milk + Rice Protein + Turmeric + Almond Butter + Chia Seeds = Happy Tummy 🙂

Conversation Corner

– Have you made any changes to your diet in 2015? If so, what did you change? 


Peanut Butter Carob Cookies

I am so excited about the cookies I made last night. They made my whole apartment smell wonderful.

My husband is allergic to chocolate. I know! When he first told me this back when we were dating I thought ‘what a weirdo’ just kidding! I love teasing him about it 😉 I know he reads this so I couldn’t resist. I had never met anyone that couldn’t eat chocolate. I asked him if he ever tried carob powder. He had never heard of it. Thus began his love of carob powder.

I learned about carob powder when I started my healthy eating journey. Personally, I like it because it has less caffeine than chocolate which really affects me. I also think it tastes just like chocolate. After David told me he never tried carob powder I immediately drove us to the farmers market and purchased some carob powder and made us both almond milk hot carob powder drinks. He LOVED it.

These cookies taste just like chocolate peanut butter cookies. If I didn’t tell you guys I substituted carob powder for chocolate and served them to you I think you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.


They are easy to make, have only 5 ingredients and are perfect for the upcoming holidays.



The cookies in the picture above are drizzled with powdered sugar mixed with water for decoration and added flavor. YUM!

Conversation Corner:

Have you ever tried carob powder? 

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