Welcome to HBHL! Inspiration for Living Your Healthy, Fulfilling, Beautiful Life

Welcome to HBHL! Inspiration for Living Your Healthy, Fulfilling, Beautiful Life

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Lightlife Smart Dogs Veggie Hot Dogs Aren't Just for Lunch and Dinner!

Hot Dogs and Summertime just seem to go together so well, don't they?  If I ate as many hotdogs as I wanted to over the Summer, my cholesterol would be through the roof!  That's not as much of a problem if I switch it up sometimes and use veggie dogs.

I was recently able to try out Lightlife Smart Dogs, which I received for free from the sponsor of the  Moms Meet program (greenmomsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer.  As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on the blog.  My opinions don't necessarily represent the opinion of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer.  

Lightlife Smart Dogs are plant-based and are 100% ready for grillin'!  Lightlife hotdogs are Non-GMO project verified and are certified vegan. That means they are lower in calories than meat-based hotdogs and they have lower saturated fat.  Smart Dogs have 7 grams of protein and only 50 calories per link.  They also have jumbo hotdogs that have 13 grams of protein and 100 calories each.

Lightlife hotdogs are refrigerated fresh and can be found in the produce, dairy or natural section of the grocery store.  It actually took me a few minutes to locate them, but when I did locate them there was a full product line including lunch meats and other Lightlife products.  I found mine at Target.

The Lightlife Smart Dogs retail at $2.99 - $3.99.  When I bought mine, they were actually on sale 2/$5.

Lightlife has been making vegetarian food since 1979.  They like to call their food products "Meat without the Middleman."  Their products taste, look and feel like real meat products even though they are made from plants, not animals.

Giving back to the community is also a priority for Lightlife.  Since the inception of their company, they have contributed 5% of profits to organizations that support a healthier you and healthier planet.

We are not vegan or vegetarian, but I like to eat vegetarian sometimes.  I'm not going to lie. . . . . I love meat.  I think I'd have a very hard time giving up meat.  If I was vegetarian though,  I think these would be a good substitute when you want hotdogs. Lightlife also has Tempeh, sausages, deli "meats", Chick'n, breakfast meat substitutes, beef substitutes and burgers.  If you're interested in making more meat-free meals, check out the recipes at the Lightlife website.

The benefits of eating more vegetables and having a vegetarian diet are numerous.  Of course the most beneficial benefit for me is reduced cholesterol levels.  My cholesterol levels go up and down depending on what I eat.  Other benefits include lower incidences of cancer, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and healthy weight maintenance.  

Since we're normally meat eaters, my kids weren't actually big fans of these hotdogs.  It's hard to change from 100% beef hotdogs to these and we've been eating a LOT of beef hotdogs in the past couple weeks.  I think if we hadn't been eating so many traditional hot dogs lately, my kids would have been more receptive to them.   I like them, though.  I think they will make my Summer a lot healthier. It's good to switch things up and make better choices when I can.  I wouldn't say the texture is exactly like a meat hot dog, but it's close.  Meat hot dogs are a little firmer I think.

These Smart Dogs are easy to cook.  You can cook them the same way you cook normal hotdogs, although for a shorter period of time.  Make sure you don't overcook!  We grilled ours the first time on a George Forman grill. Grills should only be heated to a medium heat when cooking these hotdogs.  And when you boil them, you only bring the water to a boil and then turn the burner off.  Toss your Smart Dogs in and two minutes later, your dogs are done!

Since my kids didn't like eating them the traditional way in a bun, I got a little creative.

I used one of my Lightlife Smart Dogs in a breakfast scramble.  As I said, we're not vegetarian or vegan here, so I used it with scrambled eggs and some veggies.

I cooked diced red onion, 2 diced mini sweet peppers, a cubed boiled red potato, 4 grape tomatoes and the sliced veggie dogs in olive oil until the veggies were soft and the veggie dogs were a little browned.  Then I added the eggs and cooked until the eggs were firm.  It was a great breakfast and since the veggie dogs are smoky-flavored they made a perfect replacement for other traditional breakfast meats.   My veggie scramble was YUMMY!

I also made organic mac 'n cheese and sliced boiled Smart Dogs into it.  Yummo!

Have you ever tried vegan hot dogs?  


Friday, June 17, 2016

Relaxing for Father's Day with a Beer Tasting

 All of the fathers in my life are such hard workers.  My hubby is the epitome of the "Work hard, Play Hard" mentality.  He really does so much for us!  He is constantly on the move and hustling to make our lives the best they can be.  During the school year he works two jobs and now he's in the process of starting up his own company on the side.  And when he plays he goes all in~~ BASE jumping, sky-diving, motor-bike riding, hiking. . . . .   And soon, he might be playing soccer for fun, too!  (I'm so excited to watch him!)  To say that he deserves a relaxing Father's Day would be an understatement.

What better way to let my hubby and some other fathers relax than to host a beer tasting for them?

We have had so much fun in the past at our beer tastings.  We usually do one in February each year for our "Disney" party.  We were selected to host a Disney party two years ago with one of the companies that we work with and we've continued the tradition because we had so much fun the first year!

One of the main events for the adults at our Disney party was an "around the world" beer tasting event.  We tried to find beers from each of the countries represented at Epcot.  There was only one country that we weren't able to find.

We have a beer and wine store close to us that has many different beers from different countries.  When we had our party, I bought little colorful, plastic buckets from the dollar store.  Each one was the perfect size to fit a 6-pack of beer.  We kept all of our beers in the fridge until it was time for our tasting.  Then, we filled the bottom of our buckets with ice and placed 6 of each beer in the little tubs.  We had each country's flag on the bucket so that we knew which country the beer was from.

For our tastings, we had about ten different beers and there were probably about 14 - 16 adults who were tasting.  For ease, we just bought small plastic cups and passed around "shots" of each type of beer.  Each adult only gets about 1 ounce of each beer to try. It only takes about 2 - 3 bottles of beer for 14 - 16 adults to have a taste.  The photo below shows the cups that we used.  (The beer is for our tasting this weekend!)

Then, people can have the unopened bottles that are left over from the tasting.  The picture below was from this year's beer tasting.  You can tell people were having fun, right?

Here's the funny part~~we tried to rate the beers to see which one we liked best.  That was quite the task since everyone has different tastes.

I find that my taste in beer is constantly changing, so beer tastings are actually a good way to find new beers that I like.   For the past couple years, we've really enjoyed IPAs (India Pale Ale).  I love the hoppiness.  We have not been a fan of wheat beers recently, but I used to love them when I was in college!  Who knows?!?  I might end up liking wheat beers again before the year is over.  Beer tastings are a good way to figure that out.

Here are some ideas for how to host a beer tasting:

  • Have an "Around the World" tasting as we did above.  Buy a 6 pack from different countries.  You could designate a country to each guest who will be attending, if you can't afford to shoulder the cost of 10 International 6-packs.  
  • Have a tasting for one style of beer.  For example, buy a 6-pack of IPA from several different brewers.  Or Lagers. Or Ales.  
  • Have growlers filled with a couple different types of beer.  A lot of grocery stores have beer taps now and allow you to fill growlers.  Growlers can be washed and re-used, so it's better for the environment.  You can get personalized growlers from places like gifts.com 
  • Do you have buddies that brew their own beer?  My hubby has brewed some of his own.  So far, we've only used pre-made beer making kits.  But, if you have several friends who brew their own beer, have each person bring a different type of beer that they've made.  Of course, this one takes time.  I think most of the beers we've brewed have taken a month or so until they're completed.  It takes a little forethought, unless they have some bottled and put away.
  • Buy several variety packs from different companies.  This time, I found variety packs from Samuel Adams, Leinenkugel's, Dundee, and New Belgium.
 Here's a cool way to display the beers if you buy variety packs of beer.  Take the bottles of beer out of the boxes.  Place containers upside down inside the box so that the beers have something to be propped up on.  Then place a plastic bag inside the box.  Fill the plastic bag with ice and place one bottle of each type of beer inside the box for display.  That way, they can read the box also for any beer information that's on the box.  (Just for fun, all the photos below are "cartoon" photos.  They reminded me of comic books. . . . another "dad" favorite!)

Make sure you have bar snacks, too!  Salty bar snacks like pretzels, peanuts and snack mix are always good.

As for our Father's Day beer tasting. . . . . . . . we'll be doing it while we're camping this weekend.  My hubby and I have already chosen the beers that we're going to take with us.  The one that I'm most excited to try is a Tangerine IPA.  I. Can. Not. Wait. To try it!

Have you ever hosted a Beer Tasting?  Or how about a Wine Tasting?  How did you do it and how did it go?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Winners Chosen for Chef Remi Giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Chef Remi Kitchen Shears Giveaway!

The winners have been chosen and notified!

Congratulations to:

Austin B.
"Green Topiaries"

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DISCLOSURE: I am not a doctor, nutritionist or chemist. The things that I post to this site are usually experiments I do that may or may not work for me (I will always let you know which way) . Nothing I post is meant to treat any condition that you may have. You should always ask your own doctor's opinion on any condition that you may have. If you try anything from my site, you do so at your own risk. I'm an experimenter, always trying to make my own way. That's my thing. I'm happy if you find inspiration here. Life for me is always about creativity.