Peanut Butter kind of day

My new shipment of PB2 was on the porch when we got home from work today.  I had been in out peanut flour for a while and it was horrible.  I was so sad.  I’d been using real peanut butter in our smoothies (oooh the horror!) and even Chris noticed.  The other day he asked what had happened to our peanut butter smoothies?  Thank goodness my stock is replenished.  I wasn’t thinking but I should have taken a pic of box – 2 jars of regular, 2 jars of chocolate and a bag of regular.  I don’t mess around I tell you.

And of course, I wanted some immediately so I whipped Chris and I up a pre-dinner protein shake.  I read somewhere that a protein shake made just with the powder and water/milk is a great way to fill up and help you avoid overeating at dinner.  I’ve tried it a couple of times and it seems to work.  Anyway, I got sidetracked.  Back to my smoothie. It was amazing!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

  • 4 tablespoons chocolate PB2 powder
  • 3/4 scoop protein powder ( I used Designer Whey French Vanilla)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • A handful of ice
  • 1 banana

Even though I’m super stuffed from dinner I wish I was drinking one right now.  I think I need to start stocking up on bananas because I feel like this would be great as a dessert.  Plus it served its purpose.  After we had these, Chris went out and mowed the yard while I got back on to the computer to follow-up on some work stuff.  Not only has work continued to be super busy but I found out today I’m going to be in a workshop all-day-long for the next 3 days.  Sheesh.  Looks like it’s morning workouts for this lady this week :)

Speaking of workouts I was hoping to get to my normal 12:15 pilates reformer class but I had to go to a lunch meeting.  Some people might like lunch meetings but I do not.  The noon hour is my time – my WORKOUT time.  A free sandwich does not make up for that.  But thankfully I found a little free time in my calendar and made it to the gym for some cardio.

  • 25 min slow run – we’re talking 5.6 pace.  I wanted to see how my knee felt going slow.  Surprise, surprise it still hurt.
  • 15 min on the rowing machine
  • 25 min on the bike at a decent resistance with the last 10 being 1 minute seated/out of the saddle intervals.

I ended it with some stretching and abs.  All the foam rollers, even the crummy ones, were mysteriously missing from the stretching room so that was a bummer.  I actually should be rolling out right now.

But before I head out, I have to tell you about my dinner.  Which also in a pleasant coincidence, included peanut butter.  Last week I was trying to come up with something that would allow me to use some leftover broccoli and I found this recipe. Because we didn’t end up getting to it last week I slated it for tonight’s dinner when I was meal planning yesterday.  I almost followed the recipe exactly.  My only changes? I used yakisoba noodles and added in chicken.  Seriously good.  We both loved it.  The only complaint is that it made A LOT of sauce.  I only used half of it and am going to attempt to re-use it tomorrow with red peppers instead of broccoli. If you don’t plan on re-using it I’d recommend halving what the recipe calls for – I’m pretty sure you’d get the same consistency.

Peanut Sauce with Linguini and Broccoli
Recipe from Will Cook For Friends


And now I’m off to foam roll and drink some water.  How are you all doing with the #hydrateinjuly challenge?  Slowly but surely I’m drinking more water in the morning.

 

If you give a mouse a cookie…

He’s going to want a glass of milk*

Except we’re not talking mice and baked goods.  We’re talking about these guys:

How beautiful is that strawberry???  I came home after work to water my plants and saw that my strawberries had finally popped.  Woo hoo!  There is just something about growing your own food in your own backyard that makes you feel good.  Like, “I did that thank-you-very-much.” Plus, it feels like a sign of summer.  June strawberries = summertime.

And what did I do promptly after seeing said berry?

Ate it.  Duh.  But like I mentioned earlier, if you give a mouse lady a cookie strawberry, she’s going to start craving a strawberry smoothie :)  Which is exactly what I made.

Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Smoothie

  • 6-8 fresh strawberries (I wish I could say these came from my garden but we’re not quite there in.  These came from the organic section of Fred Meyer)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar-free, fat-free cheesecake pudding mix
  • 6-8 ice cubes

And the outtake:

Delicious.

We’re meeting some friends for dinner at Matador which is my favorite mexican restaurant and I wanted to make sure I didn’t go there starving. Did you know a protein smoothie makes a great post-work, pre-dinner snack?  My smoothie was around 200 calories with 12 grams of protein and approx 6 grams of fiber. Much better than a handful of chips.

What about you?  Do you eat a snack before dinner?  Even though I usually have something around 3-4 I always want to eat something right when I get home.  Sometimes it’s just because I’m home and eating something after a crazy day at work relaxes me and then sometimes it is genuine hunger.  This is a big area for me to work on.  Eat when I’m hungry instead of eating because I like being snacky.

Luckily, today was true and honest hunger.  Probably because I got my boo-tay kicked this afternoon at spin & sculpt.  Spin & sculpt is a class just like it sounds – 30 minutes of a spin class plus 30 minutes of sculpting (HIIT workouts – 60 seconds at a variety of stations).  I used to go to the class pretty regularly, at least twice a week, but the sculpt tends to bug my knee depending on what we’re doing.  But now since I’m not running Hood to Coast I’m a little less concerned about how my knees feel.  I’m sure a doctor would never agree with that advice but too bad (for now).

Anyway, spin was crazy.  Lots and lots of intervals in and out of the saddle.  I actually thought I was going to puke at the end.  And then we started the sculpt portion which looked like this:

Run up, around, and back down the gym stairs.  repeat the circuit.  Finish with abs, including a side raise toe touch thing that I’d never done but love (and can’t find an example of anywhere so at some point I should just make a video) along with a 30 second plank where I was the only person in class who was able to take it to the next level and raise one leg.  Thank you pilates.

And now I’m actually off to foam roll my legs so that I can walk tomorrow.  Happy almost Friday my friends.

* Please tell me you all have read and love, “If you give a mouse a cookie.”  It is probably my favorite children’s book.  That, and “Love you forever.” 

Roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn & Quinoa

Random fact – did you know when I first read about quinoa I pronounced it key-no-a?  Even though that I now know it’s pronounced keen-wa, I still have to say it phonetically in my head to write it.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Quinoa is an ancient grain getting tons of buzz these days.  While similar to rice in its food pairings, it offers additional benefits like protein, fiber and manganese and it’s also gluten-free (so are most rices FYI).  You can read more about it here.

A couple of notes about quinoa…1 cup dry makes 4 cups cooked and each cooked cup has 222 calories and 8 g of protein.  To cook quinoa, you need to rinse it first (I just dump it in a fine mesh colander and run it under water) and then bring it and water to a boil.  Once you’ve reached the boiling point, cover, turn to low and simmer until all the water has evaporated, usually about 10-20 min.  For me, I’ve found the best ratio for cooking it is 2 parts liquid to 1 part dry quinoa.  For big lunch batches I usually do 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water.  As long as you remember to just double the water, you should be all set!

If you haven’t had quinoa, you should.  I have fallen in love with its texture, and slightly nutty taste.  So good.  For the past couple weeks, all my lunches have been some sort of quinoa salad and this week was no exception.  I got the inspiration from this recipe here and changed mine up slightly.

Sweet potato black bean Quinoa

  • 1.5 cups dry quinoa
  • 2 cans black beans (drained)
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 2 small sweet potatoes (cubed and roasted in olive oil, garlic and cayenne)
  • chopped cilantro
  • approx 1/4 cup shredded goat gouda

Roast the sweet potatoes (I unusually give them about 45 min in a 400 F oven).  Cook the quinoa.  Add in everything else.  Easy!  I then portion everything out into 5 lunch sized containers and store in the fridge.  I made this batch Sunday and am eating the last one today.  Still tastes just as delicious as it did on Monday.

For more quinoa ideas you can head on over to Pinterest and check out my I love Quinoa board.

Are you guys fans of quinoa?  Have any favorite recipes to share?

In other news, this week I have been exhausted.  Honestly, I think I’m still dragging from Mexico.  I mean, we got home and went right back to work and then headed straight into a wedding weekend which was followed by a Sunday baby shower which was then followed by an extremely busy couple days at work which was followed by good friends getting into town after midnight on Wednesday which was followed by a BBQ last night (where I stayed up to midnight) to kick off another round of wedding festivities.  Whew – how’s that for run-on sentences?

Anyway, what I’m saying here is that in order to get through the wedding we have on Saturday (which I’m so excited for because it’s two of my favorite people getting hitched) I’m going to need some serious good sleeps and naps between now and then

What do you guys have going on this weekend?  I only have a couple of hours of work before I start mine.  Thank goodness for summer Fridays!  Not sure what we’re doing tonight but tomorrow is the Hopkins wedding!  Can’t wait!  Chris and I are basically responsible for setting this couple up.  I worked with Jon, and Lauren is one of Chris’ good friends.  We went to Vegas almost 3 years ago for an Oregon State football game and I invited Jon down at the last-minute because we had a spare ticket.  He was planning to stay with us in our room but Chris decided to surprise me with an engagement the night before  we went down there so instead of hanging out with the newly engaged couple, he hung out with Lauren.  And they’ve been inseparable ever since.  Can’t wait to share pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I took this one on my iphone and then played around with it in Instagram…and ended up with a smoothie that looks way cooler than it actually is.  Just wanted to put it out there to convince you how cool Blueberry greek yogurt protein smoothies can be.

Happy Friday :)

Fun with protein powder on a Friday night

Wild Friday night over at this house.  Let me tell you.  While Chris is off in Vegas at a Bachelor party I decided to experiment with protein powder and see what kind of semi healthy treats I could make.  I made 3 things and while all of them are delicious, I don’t know how “healthy” any of them are.  I’ll let you be the judge below.

Butterscotch Oatmeal Protein Cookies

I saw a recipe on the back of our oatmeal box and tried to figure out how to make it healthier and add in some additional protein.  I know baking is a science and things need to be a certain way to turn out right but I’ll tell you right now I don’t roll that way.  I dump stuff into a bowl and see what happens.  And these turned out pretty good. After they came out of the oven I let them cool and then stored them in the freezer.  Mostly so that if I really want a cookie I have to let it thaw and hopefully that will prevent me from eating a million in one setting.

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Mix everything together and place slightly flattened balls on an un-greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Makes 24-30 cookies

  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup protein powder (I used vitacost vanilla whey)
  • 1 cup coconut flour (if I make these again I would use regular flour)
  • 1 &1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1/2 bag butterscotch chips

Nutrition per cookie (from myfitnesspal):
130 calories
5 g protein
5 g sugar
7 g fat (this is good fat from the coconut oil)
3 g fiber

Up next is something I don’t even know if I should share on here because they are so good they’ll probably get you in trouble.  And then you’ll get mad at me for telling you about them.  But they’re soooooooo good.

I started brainstorming about a new protein bar on Monday after I ate a Zone bar in the car on the way home from the beach. The protein bars I made a couple of weeks ago were good but I wanted that crunch from the Zone bar.  And so I found a recipe from Dashing Dish.  If you have not checked out her updated site, you must.  It’s awesome.  I mean, how could you not want to make something called Peanut Butter Protein Rice Crispy Treats?  The DD version had 9 grams of protein per bar and only made 9.  I wanted to double that amount and get a couple more grams of protein so again, more experimentation.  And I will admit at one point I was dumping random things in so I’m hoping this is an accurate recipe.  Worse case, follow the one on Dashing Dish.  You won’t be disappointment.

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Protein Bars
(Original Recipe belongs to Dashing Dish).  My version makes about 18 bars.

  • 5 cups gluten free rice crispy treats (the GF brand was cheaper than Kellogg.  Unless you have to be GF you could use the original)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used TJ’s creamy Valencia with sea salt)
  • 1/4 cup protein plus peanut flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 2 cups protein powder (I used vitacost vanilla whey)
  • 1/2 bag dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

Now the directions is where it gets a little tricky.  In the DD version, Katie says to mix everything together in a bowl. Instead, I started out with the food processor because I wanted the apricots chopped.  I got through the apricots, PB, peanut flour, honey, banana, flax, protein powder, and then after adding in 2 cups of the rice crispies I realized I had a problem.  The food processor ground up the cereal so that it was super fine and that’s not what I wanted.  I wanted the crunch of the crispies.  So at that point I transferred everything out of the food processor and into a bowl and painstakingly mixed in the rest of the cereal.  I DO NOT recommend this method.  The mixture was so gluey from all the fruit and honey, plus the protein powder was getting thick… It was a serious workout getting everything mixed.  I even had to give up and eventually mix it all by hand.  If I were to do this again, I would mix up the apricots and banana in the food processor and then transfer to a stand mixer or huge bowl and then mix everything together.  I think it would be a lot easier.

After I got everything mixed, I pressed it into a 9×13 pan sprayed with olive oil.  Then I melted the chocolate plus coconut oil in the microwave (you really need to watch this so it doesn’t burn.  I’d go about 15 sec, mix and then 15 more).  The chocolate will be super liquidy but that’s ok.  Pour it over the rice crispy mixture and tilt the pan so it covers everything.  Pop the whole thing in the freezer for a couple of hours.  And voila.  Done.  But be careful.  Don’t try them or you will end up eating 3.

Nutrition per bar (from myfitnesspal):
300 calories
13 g protein
10 g sugar (These would be good without chocolate which would cut down the sugar)
15 g fat (this is a lot but some of it is good from the coconut and peanut butter)
3 g fiber

And after I had made both of those I had leftover bags of both dark chocolate and butterscotch chips.  And at first I put them in freezer and was done in the kitchen for the night.  But then I realized that unless those chips were used up, I would be going back to the freezer constantly until I’d eaten my way through both bags.  So I came up with this completely random recipe.

Butterscotch/Chocolate haystacks
Melt the chips and mix everything together.  Scoop into balls and freeze.  Store in the freezer.   Makes about 18 stacks.

  • 1/2 bag dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 bag butterscotch chips
  • 4 tablespoons ground flax
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • 2 cups Kellogg bran buds
  • 1 cup GF rice crispies

Nutrition per stack (FYI I’m not claiming that these are good for you):
130 calories
3 g protein
11 g iron
5 g fiber
14 g sugar
7 g fat

These are definitely a dessert and I’m hoping one of these little guys will be enough to ward off those after dinner sweet cravings I always seem to get.

So there you go.  3 ways to use protein powder.  After all of that time in the kitchen I was exhausted so I curled up on the couch and caught up on Revenge and New Girl.  This morning I got sucked into a marathon of Bethenny Every After and now it’s almost noon and I feel like I’ve done nothing with my day besides watch TV, blog and eat oatmeal.  I’m going to spend some time with my friend the spin bike and then I have a bridal shower to go to at 2.

I know it’s Cinco De Mayo but after my big bday last weekend and with Chris out of town, I’m not super into it.  I would be quite happy if I spent another night cozied up on the couch with a girly chick flick.  But I might hit up Journey’s with some friends later.  Do you guys ever have weekends like that?  Where you want to do nothing but stay in?

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Healthy chicken nuggets & fries? Oh yes my friends, it’s true.

I think that my dinner on Monday night might have been one of my favorites.  Maybe that’s because I’m freaking in love with sweet potato fries.  Maybe it’s because I could drink honey mustard dipping sauce.  Maybe it’s because I think chicken strips are amazing.  Or maybe it’s because all of those things were combined into one meal.

When I was meal planning on Sunday I was looking around for chicken recipes that involved almond flour.  I bought some at Trader Joe’s a while ago and have been trying to find a way to use it on chicken.  And I found this one, from Dr. Oz and I was inspired.

But Dr. Oz has you dredge the chicken in mustard and chop up almonds.  That seemed a little more work than I wanted to do (and I still wanted to use my almond flour) so I kept looking but at least I had an idea of what dinner was going to shape up to be. Instead of the slices, I knew I wanted sweet potato fries and since I roast sweet potatoes all the time, I figured making fries couldn’t be that hard.

Sweet Potato (maybe yam) Fries
I preheated the oven too 400, and drizzled some olive oil on the pan (mostly so the “fries” wouldn’t stick).  Then I chopped up 1 sweet potato (although as I write this I realize it may have been a yam…oh well, still delicious) into thin fry-like strips.  I tossed the strips plus some olive oil and 1 teaspoon each of garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper along with about 1/4 teaspoon sea salt into a zip-lock baggie and mixed it all up.  Then I spread the fries out on the pan and baked them for about 30 min.  I kept tossing them to keep them from sticking.  They weren’t as crispy as I would have liked (too much oil..next time use less) but I needed the oven for the rest of the dinner so I pulled them out and set them aside.

After I took the fries out, I put my asparagus in the oven – still at 400.  Super easy – washed the spears and used the misto to spray on olive oil and then added sea salt, garlic and red pepper flakes – all to taste.  To be honest, this was the part of dinner I like least.  I tried to re-create the recipe Chris does for asparagus on the grill but I think I failed.  They weren’t bad, but I just don’t think roasted asparagus can hold up to the grilled variety.

And now that my veggies and starch were about done, I was ready for my protein.  Still looking to find a use of my almond meal, I had finally found this recipe.  And I added some spices.  Ding Ding Ding Ding.  Winner.

Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders (adapted from Fitness-for-u.com)
Serves 2

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp. paprika (not smoked or hot)
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 400F (already like that from the veggies).  Spray a baking sheet liberally with olive oil (so the nuggets don’t stick).

Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts, then cut each breast into nugget or strip pieces.  Use a meat mallet or something heavy (I only had a rolling pin) to pound the thicker nugget pieces so they’re all the same thickness.  Combine the almond meal, paprika, pepper, salt, and pepper in a bowl, mixing together well.  Dip each nugget piece into the almond meal mixture, pressing on with your fingers so it coats the chicken.

When all nuggets are coated, lay them on the baking sheet and cook 8-10 minutes, or until the side touching the pan is lightly browned.  Remove pan from oven, turn nuggets, and bake 10-12 minutes more on the second side, until nuggets are lightly browned and cooked through.  (Don’t overcook….I was paranoid about this so I kept checking mine but 20 min total seems about right).

And while the chicken was in the oven I made the dipping sauce.  So good and so simple!  I just mixed Dijon and sweet spicy mustard with a little honey and a tiny bit of rice wine vinegar.  Sorry, I didn’t measure anything, just kept adding until it tasted good.  I’ll write it down next time.  Promise.

I ended up broiling (500F) the nuggets for about 5 min just to give them a little more crisp and when those were done, tossed my fries back in under the broiler for a couple more minutes.  Overall this dinner was a little more time consuming than I would have liked.  Next time I make it, I’ll chop up the chicken and sweet potato the night before just so I can get everything in the oven faster.  And I think we’d want to do salad instead of asparagus.  Or at least be able to grill it.

Seriously.  Such a good dinner.  I felt like I was out at some fast food restaurant, dipping my chicken nuggets and fries in my sauce but this time it was all made with real, un-processed, healthy food.

I feel like I’m still behind and out of order so I’m not going to write about my workout today because it feels weird to be talking about Monday’s dinner but Tuesday’s workout.  But I did want to pass along a challenge that the Tone It Up Girls are doing.  It’s an 8 week plan to get you in shape for bikini season.  It started Monday so you can still catch up.  I actually haven’t done any of their workouts yet but I think they look great.  Definitely worth checking out if you need some new ideas.

Here is today’s routine:

And speaking of challenges, Bess over at Bess Be Fit is challenging everyone to stretch for 7 days.  I’m doing the challenge (don’t hate me for just telling you about it now, you can still start and go Wednesday to Wednesday) and even though I have to foam roll like crazy for my PT, this challenge has been extra motivation to really stretch out more sore muscles. In fact, I’m off to do that right now!

What the heck is peanut flour (and why do I love it so much)?

Protein Plus Peanut Flour - I am obsessed

If you’ve read my recipes you’ve noticed that I use peanut flour in my smoothies instead of protein powder.  And let me tell you, making the switch has been the best decision ever.  See, I used to use Muscle Milk light protein, the big bag from Costco.  And then I read this article and got grossed out.  Arsenic in my protein powder?  No thanks, I’ll pass.  So I set out on a quest to find a new, more natural way to add protein into my smoothies.

For a while I used peanut butter and almond butter but those were so high in calories and fat that I didn’t like relying on them every day.  I tried out almond meal/flour which has about 7 grams of protein but it was higher in calories and it wasn’t worth it for just that little amount of protein.  And then I read this post from Emily at Daily Garnish.  And I was intrigued.  Powdered peanut butter… Basically it’s crushed peanuts with fats and oils extracted.  So you get the same deliciousness with less calories and fat. You can use it for baking, cooking or mix it with water to turn it into peanut butter. I had to try it.  Emily’s favorite was the Trader Joe’s brand but I found out that had been discontinued so after some online research I found some other options from Protein Plus and Byrd Mill.  So I ordered a couple of brands to try – those two, plus the more well known PB2.

Byrd Mill Dark Roast - Not so much

PB2 - So tasty

For my taste test, I kept it pretty simple, just mixed the flour up with water.  PB2 is the best without having to add anything, that’s for sure.  This stuff rocks my world.  But it has less protein and is slightly more expensive than anything else I tried.  For the Byrd Mill, I made the mistake of ordering the dark roast.  Sick.  Horrible.  Gross.  No matter how much salt/honey I added to that stuff I hated it.  But they do have a light roast that I think would be much better.  I would recommend trying that one.  But to me, the overall winner was the Protein Plus.  Highest amount of protein and a great price when you buy larger amounts.  You do need to add some salt to it if you’re going to eat it as peanut butter but for my smoothies I don’t need to add anything.  I definitely get a great peanut butter taste.  I’ve also discovered it makes a great little dessert if you mix in water, a little salt and some honey.  Yum.

And in case you’re interested here are the stats in my favorite real peanut butter – Adam’s Natural Chunky (serving size 2 tablespoons):

Calories: 200
Fat: 16 g
Carbs: 6 g
Protein: 7 g

And here’s a breakdown of the 3 kinds I tried above plus the light roast version of the Byrd Mill:

And here’s where you can find them all:

PB2
Protein Plus: Company website & Where I buy it
Byrd Mill

If you like peanut butter I highly recommend trying this stuff out.  I am totally hooked on it in my smoothies and as a little treat but I also want to start trying it in recipes.  I think it would make a great peanut sauce for Thai foods and I’ve even thought about trying it as a dip for fruits and pretzels.

(PS I was not originally planning on posting this until tomorrow but I just had a conversation with 3 people about it in the break room while making my smoothie so I felt like the world needed to know this information).

Green Smoothie Challenge Recap

Alright, here you go.  As I mentioned I was participating in the green smoothie challenge and it was delicious.  We have smoothies every day for breakfast so this wasn’t a big change-up but it did force me to try some new recipes.

Monday
Peanut Butter Blueberry Smoothie
:
Mix the below together.  Pour into a mason jar. Serves 1.

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup plain, non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c protein plus peanut flour
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax meal

PB Blueberry smoothie

Tuesday
PB Banana Carrot Smoothie
(serves 1)
Blend the below ingredients, pour in a jar, drink.

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 non fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 1/4 protein plus peanut flour (could also use regular peanut or almond butter)

Hurried pic on the iphone on the way out the door this morning.

Wednesday
Sweet potato, almond & banana smoothie

Mix all the ingredients together.  Serves 1

  • 1 cup roasted sweet potatoes/yams
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons flax meal
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used this)

Thursday
Banana Almond Smoothie

Serves 1. Mix everything.  Enjoy.

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup non fat plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice protein powder
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed
  • 1 & 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Friday
PB Banana Coffee smoothie
Serves 1.  Mix the below together and drink.

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup non fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup coffee (I saved the leftover coffee from the day before and let it cool in the fridge overnight)
  • 1/2 unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup protein plus peanut flour

Saturday (Basically the same as Monday but with doubled ingredients)
PB Blueberry (green?) smoothie
:
Serves 2

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup non fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup protein plus peanut flour
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 4 tablespoons flax meal

Sunday
(Real Peanut Butter) Banana Smoothie

We ran out of protein plus peanut flour (my fave) so I decided to make today’s smoothie with actual peanut butter.  I think I’ve forgotten how good real PB is, because I thought this smoothie was the most amazing think I’d ever had to drink.

  • 3 tablespoons Adam’s natural Chunky PB
  • 2 scoops brown rice protein powder
  • 1 cup non fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup non fat milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened, vanilla almond milk

And in other non smoothie news, yesterday I ran 4 miles outside with very minimal knee pain.  It was the longest run I’ve done since Hood to Coast so I’m getting cautiously optimistic that HTC # 5 might be in my future after all.  Oh and somehow my pace was 8:34.  I sort of think my Nike+ GPS app was wrong because I never run that fast.  And the best part of the whole run was that I had to wear sunscreen because it was so sunny out.  In fact, I’d even go so far as to use the word HOT to describe yesterday.  But of course, today is pouring down rain so what can you do?

Can’t beat the classics

Well hello there and happy Saturday to you.  Did you know that here in Oregon we’re about 1/2 an inch away from beating the rainfall record for March in Portland?  No bueno.  I was hoping to actually get outside and do something active this weekend but that is not going to happen. So instead, we’re spending the day here being lazy.  Protein smoothie & coffee for breakfast, CMT top 20 countdown on TV and computer time – me on the blog, Chris researching house stuff…our standard weekend morning routine.  Love.

And because I was writing on my phone last night, I’ll run though a little recap of the past two days.

Green Smoothie Challenge day 5 (Friday breakfast) – I was inspired by Jen’s recipe and decided to add some caffeine to my protein.  This one was tasty but it left a weird aftertaste in my mouth.  Probably won’t do it again.

PB Banana Coffee smoothie
Serves 1.  Mix the below together and drink.

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup non fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup coffee (I saved the leftover coffee from the day before and let it cool in the fridge overnight)
  • 1/2 unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup protein plus peanut flour

For my weight circuit yesterday I headed back in the vault and pulled out a classic.  When I was a sophomore in college I lived at home and went to a Jr. College so that I could be around the 1st year of my baby sister’s life.  And because I really had no life that year outside of my family time, I spent a lot of time at the gym and started working out with a personal trainer named Swede.  He was awesome.  Big guy, power lifting champ.  If you life in Olympia, WA I highly recommend hunting down this guy.  Anyway, he had a workout he’d run me through which I loved then and still love to this day.  I tend to always fall back on it when I need a good all over body routine.

The Swede Classic
Using 10 pound dumbbells go through this circuit 3 times with minimal rest between each move.

  • Weight bench step ups (20 on each leg)
  • 15 squats
  • 15 sumo squats
  • 15 deadlifts
  • 10 lateral raises
  • 10 front raises
  • 10 bent arm lateral raises
  • Single arm tricep extensions (12 on each arm)
  • 10 shoulder presses

And after that, I did 3 sets of leg presses with 45 lbs on each side.  And then finished up with a diamond set of low rows.  12 reps at 55 lbs, 15 reps at 40 lbs and 20 reps at 25 lbs.

I discussed lunch in yesterday’s post and dinner ended up being another classic.  I whipped up my favorite shrimp, goat cheese and broccoli pasta.  So good.

We ended up at Journey’s with some friends later in the evening and killed my second keg (such a rush).  But because they messed up somehow in the scoring one of Chris’ kills is under my name so I’m actually up on the board in 2nd place with 3 kills.  Seriously I think something is wrong with me that I get this excited about drinking the last beer in a keg.  I did pretty good only 2.5 drinks.  But I did come home and have some cinnamon toast.  There’s just something about coming home and eating when I get home from a bar.  I really need to stop that.

This morning my green smoothie wasn’t so green but it was one of my favorites.  This is pretty much our standard smoothie but because Chris and I both have it I usually make it with half almond milk and half non-fat milk (he hates almond milk).  But we were out of the NF so it was a little sweeter than normal.

PB Blueberry (green?) smoothie:
Serves 2

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup non fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup protein plus peanut flour
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 4 tablespoons flax meal

And there you go.  That takes me to right now.  Noon.  We’re going to head to the gym in about an hour.  I’ll probably just do straight cardio and abs.  I’m thinking 30 min on the bike + 30 min on the elliptical.  This afternoon we’ll be watching some March Madness which I’m now super invested in because if Ohio State makes it to the final game I’ll win my work pool!  Go Buckeyes! Tonight should hopefully be pretty low key.  Turns out the 2nd season of Texas Women is on CMT.  We loved it last season so it will be great to see what the ladies are up to now.  Wild night around here :)

 

Better in a mason jar

Did you know I almost named this blog “Jars of Mason?”  Yup, even had the URL and everything.  See, I love mason jars.  I know they’re pretty trendy right now but I’ve loved them forever.  Seriously.  I’m not just saying that so it looks like I’m not jumping on the vintage train bandwagon.  I ate homemade canned peaches and strawberry jam when I was little and since then they’ve always reminded me of good things.  Now, I’ll admit we had them at our wedding as decorations, but we also actually served beer and wine in them (16 oz for beer, 8 oz jars for wine… however things got a little nuts when people started using the beer jars for wine but that’s another story).  Speaking of beer, any bar that serves it in a mason jar automatically gets a gold star.

Because we had quite a few jars leftover from the wedding they’ve actually become our primary cups/glasses/drinking jars and I love it.  Not sure what it is exactly but something about drinking out of a mason jar is just better (not to mention, glass jars do not contain BPA)  Not sure if it’s the thickness of the rim or what.  But they make the beverage that much more enjoyable which is especially helpful when drinking water.  We all know you’re suppose to drink at least 64oz of water a day (8 glasses @ 8oz each) and I’ve found I crush that amount by drinking out of my jar.  See, I carry around a 32 oz jar everywhere! I have one at home and one at work.  And trust me, I’ve gotten my fair share of strange looks (and plenty of comments about moonshine) when I walk into a meeting carrying a giant jar of water.  But it works.  My goal is always to drink 3 jars at work and 1 jar at home for a total of 120+ oz of water and I’m pretty good about hitting it.  And while people initially thought it was strange, I’ve brought jars in to at least 3 of my coworkers and even Chris brought one to work to drink from.  You can also make them portable by putting on the canning jar lids (and now this company is selling plastic lids but I haven’t bought into this, feels too hipsterish for me).  The only place I don’t take them is to the gym, glass and workout equipment makes me nervous.

Water

Anyway, over the weekend I made smoothies for 4 people instead of 2 and we didn’t have enough of our normal magic bullet cups so I poured them into mason jars and I’m pretty sure the smoothie instantly tasted better.  Seriously.  There is just something about mason jars.  This is our standard smoothie right now, I checked my recipes and realized I haven’t posted this one yet.  So tasty and about 30 grams of protein.

Peanut Butter Blueberry Smoothie:
Mix the below together.  Pour into a mason jar. Serves 1.

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup plain, non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c protein plus peanut flour
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax meal

PB Blueberry smoothie

And because mason jars make me think about all things country and I also referenced moonshine in this post, thought I’d share a song by my favorite country artist Jake Owen all about (apple pie) moonshine. Hope you love this song as much as I do.

Chocolate Chunk Protein Cookies

Lots o chocolate

So last week I was craving sugar like a crazy woman.  I have a huge sweet tooth so craving sugar is not totally abnormal around here but last week it was out of control.  Like I’d start craving it after lunch and the craving basically wouldn’t go away until in a huge moment of weakness last Thursday I ended up eating massive amounts of Reese peanut butter sticks and a huge bag of caramel corn.  And then I basically fell into a sugar coma.  Not a proud moment.  Thank goodness that sugar splurge seemed to have calmed things down.  I don’t know what was going on but even Chris was craving sugar and he never wants it. It was weird.  It was almost like a magical sugar fairy flew over the house one night and accidentally dumped a bunch of dust over our house or something… Hopefully I made it through the worst of it but just in case, I wanted to create some sort of protein snack that included dark chocolate to proactively kill that sugar bug.

After browsing around for some protein cookie recipes, I landed on this one.  It sounded easy enough and I had all the ingredients here.  I doubled her recipe and then because I didn’t have enough honey, subbed in some greek yogurt.  I also tossed in dried cranberries, chia seeds and dark chocolate.  I put a cup of chopped dark chocolate in here and I actually think they’re too chocolatey. (Seriously I might go into sugar shock after one of these).  1/4 to a 1/2 cup would probably be just as good.  I also think it would be great to add 1-2 mashed bananas to make them a little more moist.  We didn’t have any so these are a tad on the drier side but still tasty.

I’m still debating when I’m going to eat these.  Normally I have a protein snack pre-workout but my sugar craving is striking at 3pm so thinking I’ll do an apple before heading to the gym and save these bad boys for my after lunch dessert.  I tossed them all in the freezer to hopefully prevent me from constantly snacking on them.  I’ll bring one to work each day and if I try to dig into them at home at least I’ll have some time to think about whether or not I really need them while they thaw.

And now I’m off to the grocery store to get groceries for the week.  Should be a pretty cheap bill since I went to Costco yesterday and picked up most of our meats and other essentials.

Chocolate Chunk Protein Cookies:
Mix together the ingredients below.  Form into balls.
Bake for 15 minutes @ 350 degrees.
10 g protein, 8 g sugar, 135 calories, 5 g fat, 17 g carbs, 3 g fiber (based on calculations at myfitnesspal.
Makes 24 cookies.

  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1 c non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c dried cranberries
  • 1 c coarsely chopped dark chocolate
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 c old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 c ground pumpkin seeds
  • 1&1/3 c vanilla protein powder ( I used Sun Warrior Vanilla)

Yum

Melty goodness. Swoon

Into the freezer they go