A journey to health and happiness.

Chobani and Craziness

Hello Sweet Potatoes!

I admit, I have a bit of a problem when it comes to a scheduled routine for posting. I have been so busy lately and posting has been the last thing on my mind. Oh well, my blog, my rules. Whatever. Let me give a brief rundown of some things that have been taking over my life lately.

1) Classes. I start back to class for my Masters in Counseling Psychology today (ugh!) I can’t believe this summer is already over. I had a lot of stress during the last semester and at times felt as if I wasn’t going to make it through. It was very much a blessing in disguise last semester when I found out I wasn’t going to be able to take my Practicum course during the summer (scheduling conflict). It was a much needed break and I already feel as if it hasn’t been long enough. This is my schedule for this semester:

Not to mention the Ad. Psychopathology is in a different town almost 45 min away one direction. (I may or may not have just spent almost an hour trying to figure out how to get the above schedule cut and pasted onto this post.)

2) Work Projects. As I type this, I’m also working on a project for work. I have the amazing opportunity of being part of our CST (Crisis Support Team) at work. This team is basically an organized, trained support system in place to assist bureau of prison employees and their families in times of crisis. I am fairly new to the team and already I  am in charge of hosting a training (yikes!) I decided to do something fun and different. Right now I am simultaneously watching the movie Reign Over Me on my laptop. I am also typing up some discussion points about the video and how it can relate to our CST training.

A man who lost his family in the September 11 attack on New York City runs into his old college roommate. Rekindling the friendship is the one thing that appears able to help the man recover from his grief.

3) Chobani Craziness

Well, I guess I can’t leave you completely empty handed in the food department. Lately, I have been OBSESSED with Chobani creations. A few weeks ago Chobani sent me an awesome variety of Chobani flavors to try and I have been practically living off of the stuff.

I have discovered it is absolutely impossible for me to eat Chobani without puffed rice cereal. If you have never tried puffed rice cereal, go RIGHT NOW to the store and get some. It is like $1 for a huge bag and an entire cup has only 70 calories!

There have been lots of creations. Like this one with Pineapple yogurt and fresh mango.


And this one, Black Cherry Chobani with fresh cherries, chocolate syrup, and chocolate chips.

Apple and Cinnamon with Mama’s O’s and PB2.

Raspberry Chobani with puffed rice On-the-Go. Also enjoyed with coffee in my favorite UK mug (Go Cats!) FYI: I do not condone driving while attempting to eat out of this huge container that doesn’t even fit in the cup holder. #fail

The Vanilla flavor was also enjoyed with sliced banana, the Strawberry with strawberries (duh) and the Bloodorange was enjoyed with some mandarin oranges (not pictured). All of which were also GREAT combos!

There are a couple of flavors I have yet to try, including the peach and the pomegranite. Of all the flavors I have tried, I definitely think my favorite is the Raspberry. A close second is the strawberry and who could ever go wrong with vanilla?

Thank you so much Chobani for giving me the opportunity to try all of these wonderful flavors! I am definitely a Chobani convert!

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this post in any way, other than Chobani provided me with the products to try and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Q’s for the day:

What’s your favorite way to enjoy Chobani?

I’m a Foodie Pen Pal!

Hello everyone,

Guess what?

The Lean Green Bean

That’s right! This past month was my first time around doing the Foodie Pen Pal exchange. I received a package from Virginia over at Squirrel Circus. It seems as if I waited FOR-EV-ER for my package to arrive (no worries Virginia, it was right on time!) I was just so excited it felt that way!

So what was in the box?

The hubster has also been listening to me go on and on about this foodie exchange for a few weeks now, and naturally, he was curious about my mysterious delivery. When he spied the prezels…well, lets just say there was no waiting on those. We immediately opened them and took a bite. Amazing! I also spooned him out some of the mustard to dip the pretzels in. He was a little unsure about the mustard. I, on the other hand, LOVE IT! I can imagine this mustard going on – well, everything.

Needless to say, the cookies also did not make it to the end of the week. Both Mr. SP and I divided each of the cookies and ate them for dessert. He agreed they were both very tasty. I especially loved the Four Seed Cookie one. It has a biscuity (?) texture and was even better when soaked in my coffee after dinner.

I was also super excited about the Pepper Jam. Although admittedly, I have not tried it yet. Virginia provided a recipe to go along with the Pepper Jam and I had the best intentions of picking up some cream cheese this past weekend, but forgot (womp, womp). I actually prefer to make a couple of things last anyway. I always think things are better if you enjoy them overtime slowly.

Insert random story I thought of just now when writing about Pepper Jam.

My best friend/college roomie used to make fun of me because I would go shopping for clothes and then leave them hanging in my closet for weeks with the tags still on them, unworn. I used to just take one of the new items out each week and wear them in an attempt to “save the new” .

I do this with lots of things. Just last weekend I was enjoying our weekly Mom/Daughter dinner date, and my Mom thought it was funny that I hadn’t even touched the cheese wedge that came with my salad.

She inquired, “I thought you loved cheese! You haven’t even touched it!”

My response, “I do, which is why I’m saving it for last!”

And now back to your Foodie Penpal presentation.

So, yea. I love saving the best for last and although I don’t know what the Pepper Jam taste like yet, that is the very reason I’m so excited to try it and I’m saving it temporarily. You will just have to stay tuned for when I do try it!

I sent my foodie penpal package to Ashley over at Sore Leggs & Scrambled Eggs. If you’re interested to see what she got, then go show her blog some love!


This first Foodie Pen Pal exchange was a blast! I can’t wait for next month. If you’re interested in becoming a Foodie Pen Pal (both bloggers and readers welcome!) then please checkout our host Lindsey for the details.

Q for today:

How about you? Are you a save-the-best-for-last kinda person, or can you not wait to dive right in?

Recharge – Restructure

Hello everyone!

I have tried to steer clear of spreading negativity on this blog, thus far. As addictive as it is to read everyone’s negative comments on Facebook, it really is a pet peeve of mine. Especially when those comments end up being very personal and way TMI! For example, I have one friend who repetitively announces when her “aunt flo” is visiting! First of all, yuck. Second of all, why would anyone else on your feed care about or need to know that?


That being said… this blog also serves a purpose of self discovery. Lately, I have been doing a lot of self discovery, and I have discovered that I have definitely been in a funk. I have been depressed, lazy, unmotivated, and foggy. The reason for this funk is not a mystery and I am certain I know exactly where it has came from. There have been a combination of changes in my life over the last several months. There have definitely been a lot of ups and downs.

One big change I have not yet mentioned on the blog, as I still have felt very apprehensive about whether or not I want to disclose this information. But here goes… I got a new promotion at work about a month ago! I am now a Drug Treatment Specialist for the Bureau of Prisons! Yes, it is very good news and something I have been working towards for a while. I am very proud of myself. However, with a new job comes lots of new responsibilities and the addition of work related stress. I have not had the pleasure of dealing with work related stress in quite a while. Yes, my previous position had a certain amount of stress, but not to the degree my new position has.

With the addition of this stress, I have felt very tired and sluggish in the afternoons. My willpower has been running on empty and I have succumbed to many overindulgences in food. I have also experienced a significant lack of interest in working out and keeping up with any sort of normal routine. Of course, these things have also taken a hit to my self-esteem.


Well, no more. This past weekend I took the time to really sit down and reevaluate my circumstances and goals, and why I keep having setbacks. I realized a lot of my setbacks have simply involved giving up too easy. I consistently fall into the negative self-talk, telling myself, “Well, I’ve already eaten over my calories for the day, I guess eating 5 MORE BROWNIES won’t matter.” I confess, that really DID happen one day recently. I know it’s ridiculous. For heaven’s sake, I’m an addictions counselor now! “I know how this self-talk has affected me and the goals I’m hoping to achieve!” I say this while looking in the mirror and in my best and most professional counseling voice I can muster.


Yesterday I sat down with a plain notebook and outlined a meal plan for myself this week. I counted calories for each item and ensured that every meal was full of nutritious, clean foods. (As I type this at lunchtime, I’m having a spinach salad with broccoli, snap peas, and tuna. Paired with baby carrots and one thin cinnamon raison bagel. I will finish the meal with a hot, steamy cup of Sugar Cookie tea.) I already know by the end of the week I will be craving a break from the structure, therefore I planned ahead of time for a “cheat meal” on Sunday. Sunday works best for me because this is the day I usually go out to dinner with my Mom and we almost always split a dessert afterwards. I know many are completely against counting calories, and in no way am I suggesting this is the only way to stay balanced successfully. However, this is what I have found works best for me. Hard, cold, factual numbers keep me honest with myself.

In addition to a meal plan, I also outlined an exercise routine. Because I have basically been down to 0 exercise in the last few weeks, I thought starting out small would be best. For now, I have included 3 days of exercise per week and a “bonus” day if I decide to do a fun activity, such as going for a walk. As of right now, I am planning on getting my exercise through running, elliptical workouts, gym classes, and strength training circuits.


I am more than excited to start on this plan. My body and mind have felt completely out of control lately. I am happy to be able to get back to some sort of routine. I crave the structure and depend on my feelings of accomplisment to keep me motivated.

P.S. So sorry for the explosion of motivational quotes and lack of real life pictures. These are some of my favorites that have kept me motivated, and I wanted to share.

Q’s for the day:

What motivates you to continue through your routine?

What type of stress can completely unravel you from your routine?

50 Shades of Green

Hello everyone!

So, I have a confession…

The last week or so I have all but abandoned you as a few other “obsessions” have taken over my life. There is a very tasty morsel of which I have become acquainted with and would like to share with you. Am I addicted? Some would say so. Is it a guilty pleasure for which I have no control over and I completely surrender myself to? Absolutely. Is it slightly inappropriate? Still up for debate.

I have been OBSESSED with this man (okay, maybe young man)! I have been desperately missing my Vampire Diaries lately, so I ran across this series on Netflix when trying to find something even remotely comparable. Jackpot! It’s mysterious, adolescent, cheesy and a guilty pleasure that has not disappointed. AND….we’ll let’s just say after a quick Google search I am SO GLAD to find out Tyler Posey is of barely legal age.

Another guilty pleasure…

My Mom reads this occassionally, so I won’t say anything more. But… Oh my!

I have also been very under the weather over the weekend. Needless to say, I have been 50 Shades of Green (you like that?) and got very reaquainted with the toilet (TMI?). I have not been interested very much in the food department lately. After the above entertainment took over my life last week, and my illness over the weekend, running and fitness seem to have also taken a backseat over the last few days. However, I am hoping to get back to running this afternoon providing the weather is affordable.

Which brings me to my next topic. Remember when I mentioned in this post about the Russell County, Ky runner who was murdered while running? Hart’s hometown has joined together and has organized a run on August 11th in support. The race creatively titled, Run With All Your Hart, is a 4 mile race to represent her three children, as well as her unborn child.

I have been so proud of our state and the way everyone has come together to show their recognition and support for the family.The race has gathered international attention and now every state and several countries are represented with many runners signing on to run as Virtual Runners. If you are interested in more information or would like to learn about signing up to be a Virtual Runner you can go here.


I have lots of exciting things to share in the days to come, including some reviews! Here are some questions to keep you pondering in the meantime.


What books are you reading this summer?

Do you ever take a break from your routine?





WIAW – The HOT Potata Edition

Hello Hot Potatas!

Man, is it every BLAZING outiside. Some of the days this past week have been right out misery. You know it’s hot when you walk outside and find yourself struggling for air and trying to breathe! We are finally starting to cool down a bit around here. We had a couple of storms pass through over the weekend and the sky looked ominous (I love that word) this morning (and by “this morning” I mean yesterday, because that’s when I typed this.)

I totally spaced out last week for WIAW… Oh well, that just means I have more to show you for this week! So let’s get this party started!

Before we begin, let me make a confession. The lovely lady at Peas and Crayons has suggested WIAW to also include Fitness as part of the theme for this month. Well, here at Hello Sweet Potato, there has been a significant lack of fitness lately, so that definitely has to change. Now that we’ve cleared that up, onward!

There have not been a ton of “creative” eats lately. Mr. SP and I have been relying entirely too much on eating out this past week and eating up random leftovers in the house. Remember when I mentioned I had a TON of food leftover from my little bro’s baby shower??

There was breakfast:

Momma’s Best Cereal, Almond Milk, and fresh strawberries from my brother’s shower. Of course, with a side of coffee in my favorite mug!

Whole wheat pancakes (from the box cuz I’m lazy that way) with pureed strawberry syrup. Unphotogenic, but SO delicious!

Lunch also consisted of ways to try and utilize the plentiful leftovers from the shower. First up was a turkey and ham sandwich with mini peppers and hummus on the side. I was psyched about the peppers last week when I found an entire bag on sale for .99 cents!

And there was leftover pizza which I veggified with banana peppers grown from the garden. The pizza was accompanied by fresh peas and zucchini from the garden.

I also had dinner with my Mama this past week and we ate at one of our favorite local restaraunts, Gondoliers. Gondoliers is mostly Italian, but they have a HUGE menu. I had the Greek Chicken salad (not pictured) and we split a piece of their Milkyway cake. Their cake servings are collosal. Needless to say, we split a serving, and then I split my half again and took part of it to Mr. SP.

On the 4th, we celebrated with a cookout at Mr. SP’s grandparents house. There was tons of food!

This guy also made an appearance to the party. I held out my hand close to him and to my dismay, he jumped right in it! Of course I jumped around like a silly girl afterwards! I’m not sure exactly what I expected when I put my hand out.

I made these cuties. Sadly, most of them melted by the time we got there and the strawberries had slid off the tops, but they were still pretty tasty! You can find the recipe here.

And there was lots of snacks during the week. I was super excited to find these on sale last week at the grocery.

I whipped up this combo one night after a tough workout.

1/2 sliced banana, 2 tbsp of PB2, sprinkle of cinnamon = absolute deliciousness.

There was also a quick trip to Starbucks after grocery shopping for a Skinny Iced Vanilla Latte.

As I sit here typing this (several hours later from earlier) another storm is brewing up outside. The one from this morning passed over us, but at least we have had a little rain. I am hoping for a bit more or I fear the garden is not going to make it!

Toodles for now!

Q’s for today:

What’s your fave drink from Starbucks?

I’m struggling to think of another question tonight, so how about you just tell me whatever random thought jumps into your head!

It’s A Boy!

Hello Taters!

So, WOW! My stats have boomed since yesterday! In case you haven’t noticed, Hello SP is now on Twitter @hellosweettater, and on FB (see the “Like” box in the right column). We are movin’ on up! I have lots of other projects in the works, as well, so stay tuned for more exciting places you can see Hello Sweet Potato.

Anyway, onto today’s topic. A few days ago I told you guys what a crazy, busy weekend I had. Well, here’s the recap! Last weekend I traveled to my hometown to help out with my little brother’s baby shower. He and his lovely girlfriend are expecting their first bouncing baby on September 4th!

We worked ALL day on preparing the food. And was there ever a TON of it!

After preparing all the food, we were completely famished ourselves. So, we had a pizza break.

After our break, the decorations were put into place and everything was ready.

My Mom brought these guys to the party…

And this guy also showed up.

Yes, that would be an elephant on top of a diaper tricycle. What? Don’t act like you’ve never seen this.

Our friend, Judy, made the cutest cake ever! The toys on the cake were my little brother’s when he was a kid.

It was finally time to get the party started.

And what would a party be without gifts and games!

One game involved guessing how many jelly beans were in this ginormous baby bottle. But, I think the count was off, because a few might have disappeared.🙂

After gifts, games, and great food, it was finally time to clean up and go home. And WHEW, was I ever tired! There was also lots of food left over and most of us were scrambling to divide up the royalties. I made out pretty good with TONS of veggies and fruit, of which I have made good use of over the last week. You will see more of that in this week’s WIAW.

My brother also was trying to find a place to stash stuff, and he just so happened to have a cooler in his jeep that was full of these…

Yea. I don’t think he’s going to be needing those anymore once the baby arrives. Haha!

Hope everyone else has had a great weekend and finding creative ways to make due with this heat! Toodles!

A couple of Q’s:

What’s the most creative game you have ever seen at a baby shower?

What’s your take on baby showers? Love em or hate em?


When I met my husband, and decided to leave my hometown, it was very bittersweet. I grew up on a horse ranch very far out into the country. There were many lazy Summer days spent chasing barn kittens, riding bicycles with my little brother and playing with my dog. The beautiful, clear days we’ve been having lately only make me miss home more.

Sometimes I really miss home, and miss my Mom and Dad. Even though home is not that far away, sometimes it feels like it is an entire country away.

This past weekend we visited my parents. We have been making more trips than usual to stay with them on the weekends, at least about once a month. They enjoy having me around the house again and I love being back home. Mom loves to cook large meals for us. Of course, I always like to help!


Pumpkin Granola Pancakes (on the left) and Plain Granola Pacakes (on the right).

Mr. SP gets his farm-fix for awhile and his inner country boy comes out. And Dad loves the company of Mr. SP. This weekend they worked on baling and bringing in the hay together. This of course makes me smile. Growing up, my Dad always commented about my future, someday husband, “I’ll know if he’ll be worth somethin’ if he knows how to bale hay!” I think Dad approves.🙂

While they worked, Chester and I enjoyed a walk and reminisced about all the good times.

Our old fishing spot.

If you look, you can see a fish hiding in there!

The place we used to come and pick wild blackberries. Sadly, they weren’t quite ready for picking on this day.

Sometimes we never know what we’re going to get into at Mom and Dad’s.

Chester has a great time, too. Usually after these weekends visiting Mamaw and Papaw, the rest of the weekend this is all he can muster.

All and all it was a great weekend!

A couple of Q’s:

If you ever moved away from home, what was the most difficult thing about leaving?

What do you miss the most?

Peanut Butter Banana Stuffed French Toast

Hello everyone,

So, I kinda slacked on the Friday Five last week. Last Friday was SO busy for me, of which I will post about soon. I don’t have a lot to say right now, other than I am soooo happy that today is Tuesday because tomorrow is July 4th and I am off from work! However, it really blows that the holiday is falling right smack dab in the middle of the week. This means no extra long weekend off for me. Boo.

I do have lots planned for tomorrow, including a cookout with plenty of good food and loving family. I am supposed to bring a dessert, but have no idea what I’m going to bring yet. Hopefully I will have something delicious to show you for later!

Anyway, onto the real reason for this post!

Peanut Butter Banana Stuffed French Toast

This is really much more of a NON recipe, but I will still give you the down-low for how I made this AHHH-mazing dish.


Whole Wheat Bread (3 slices)

1 Banana (sliced)

1 tbsp of Natural Peanut Butter (melted and diluted with water for desired consistency)

1 cup of egg whites

1 whole egg

1/2 cup of Almond Milk

Cinnamon to taste.

Nunaturals Vanilla Extract (or other vanilla extract) to taste.

Sugar-free syrup.

1. Begin heating nonstick skillet or griddle of medium/low heat.

2. Whisk together the egg whites, whole egg, and almond milk in a bowl and add cinnamon and extract.

3. Dunk and soak each piece of bread into liquid and place on pan. Cook on each side about 1 – 2 minutes.

4. While cooking, nuke PB and water in microwave and mix until desired consistency.

5. To assemble, layer bread slices and banana slices. Top with melted PB and sugar free syrup.

So good, that’s all I can say.



Welcome to my very first What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) post!

—-What WIAW isn’t about—-
Comparison – Judgement – Restriction – Guilt
—-What WIAW is about—-
Celebrating one of the glorious things we all have in common: We all eat!

If you have not heard of WIAW, then you must be completely new to the foodie blog community. Let me brief you. Every week, food bloggers join together to compile photographs of some of the snacks and meals they have eaten during the week. Of course, then all the blog readers can gawk and drool over the delicious (sometimes odd) food combinations. A big thanks and shout-out to Jenn over at Peas & Crayons for putting this together for everyone! If you want to find out more details about getting involved with WIAW you can go here.

Ever since this blog was just a neuron of a thought, I have wanted to participate in this weekly party, but I just have not been able to coordinate both taking the pictures of my food and uploading them to a computer in a timely manner. Over the last week, I have made a great effort to photograph a hodge podge of some of my eats for the week. Here are some things I have enjoyed over the last week.

I recently purchased a couple of asian pears at the supermarket, having never tried this fruit before. I ate one whole as a snack (not pictured) and chopped up the other one in my oatmeal for breakfast. Asian pears are basically a cross between a pear and an apple. The taste of this fruit was a bit bland. I thought they lacked flavor compared to both an apple and a pear. They did, however, make a splendid addition to my oatmeal. In the bowl: 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 1/4 unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 an asian pear, cinnamon and steevia sweetner to taste.

I also was able to create some beautiful salads with a mixture of veggies from both the supermarket and our garden.

Along with another delicious breakfast of poached eggs with veggies, half an orange, and a piece of whole wheat toast.

And I made these…

Peanut Butter Banana Stuffed French Toast. Mmmmm-MMMM! (Recipe coming soon.)

There was also some snacking in the form of apples, bananas, a Z Kid’s Cliff bar, Luna bars, and my new favorite combo, sliced bananas and fresh mango. Unfortunately, all of these were gobbled up too fast to photo.🙂

I hope you have enjoyed my first WIAW post and you’re mouth is watering by now!

Q’s for today:

What was the best thing you ate in the last week?

Would you consider yourself a snacker or do you prefer to eat less and larger meals throughout the day?


It’s the Friday Five! (Belated)

Hello my sweet potatoes! (If you’re out there?)

Okay, so I do realize it’s now Saturday instead of Friday, but I missed the boat yesterday. Oh well, better late than never!

I have been having sooome traffic to this little blog of mine. I just want to extend a formal ‘welcome’ to all of you out there lurking in the shadows. I know you’re out there somewhere. I seeee yooou!

In case my extended lapse in posting is of somewhat of a surpirse, let me recap by explaning I STILL do not have a computer. Very frustrating… Even more disastrous, yesterday I came home and found out this had happened.


Yea. That would be a huge crack in the screen of my Kindle Fire. I had just used it that morning on the commute to work and it was fine. My only guess is that by leaving it in the SwElTeRiNg temperatures of the day, the heat became too much and caused it to crack. Unfortunately (according to Amazon) this type of damage is not covered under the warranty. However, they are going to be nice enough to let me send this one back and get a new one for $100, which half the price. Guess I can’t complain.

And just to prove the blazing hot temps for the last few days, my car read this when I got in it the other day.


She’s so hot, hot, HOT!

Anyway, onto this week’s Friday Five!

1. This week I received my giveaway win from the fabulous Annette for NuNaturals products. I was so excited to open the box and realize not only did I receive the extracts promised in the giveaway, but I also received a large box of packets and a sprinkle container! I used the sprinkles in my oatmeal this morning with some unsweetened almond milk, sliced banana, and also some cinnamon. It was devine!

2. I am also excited about how well our garden is doing this year. We share a garden with my inlaws next door and despite the very dry weather, the crops seem to be doing great!

3. My inlaws also have a small blueberry orchard in which, of course, me and Mr. SP can have all the blueberries we want for free! And this year, the raspberries are also starting to come in…delicious.

4. I am loving the Cliff Kid’s Z bars. After reading about these from Heather’s blog, I simply had to try them. I am munching on one right now as I type, and let me just say, O.M.G. AMAZING! Not to mention they are less expensive than the typical bars and have less calories (130). LOVE!

5. Last, and perhaps the most monumental occasion of all, was this moment.


You’re saying, “What, so it’s a microwave? Big deal.” What if I told you this microwave has been sitting on our kitchen table since we moved in – almost 2 years ago. That’s right, it has been taking up space on the table for almost 2 years! We bought this above range model to go with our new stove when we first moved into Chateau Sweet Potato. Then, because we did not have enough knowledge to install the
microwave, Mr. SP sat it on the kitchen table “just until someone can come put it in.” Although we have still been using our old one, I (the foodie) was getting very tired of looking at this huge thing on the kitchen table and not being able to actually sit down to eat a meal. It had become a long-running joke (yes it sat there long enough to become a long-running joke). At times when Mr. SP and I would bicker over the numerous things I have neglected to take care of around the house (i.e. when it’s my turn to do the dishes, etc.) all I would have to do is point at the microwave. It was very effective.🙂

That’s it for my week! How was yours? I would love for you to tell me about it!

Today’s Q’s:

Have you ever had a house project that has been put off entirely too long?

What is your favorite garden vegetable/fruit?

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