Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

This ugly-looking smoothie deserves some major recognition. I’ve mentioned my favorite smoothie over and over, but I’ve never dedicated an entire to post to it. Considering I eat this smoothie at least 4-5 times a week, it’s time to give it some credit.

I’m talking about my chocolate peanut butter smoothie that I eat for breakfast. It tastes like a peanut butter chocolate shake except it’s wayyyyyy healthier.

chocolate peanut butter smoothie.jpg

 

It’s smooth, creamy, sweet, chocolatey, and knocks my socks off.

chocolate peanut butter smoothie

I’m not one to measure ingredients when I’m making smoothies, but I will do my best to share what I think are the approximate measurements for each ingredient. Feel free to play around with it though!

chocolate peanut butter smoothie

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 medium frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 handfuls frozen kale (approximately 1 cup?)
  • 1 heaping spoonful of raw cacao powder
  • 1 heaping spoonful of peanut butter
  • 1 heaping spoonful of ground flaxseed
  • almond milk (as much as you need to cover the ingredients

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into the blender in the order listed above. I use the personal-size cups in my Ninja Ultima Blender and it is perfect.
  2. Blend until smoothie.
  3. Enjoy right away!

It’s as easy as that! I always feel good about getting some fruits and veggies in right away in the morning! It’s a great way to start the day.

QOTD: What are your current go-to breakfasts?

Some Good Eats: BBQ Beef, Tacos, Tilapia

This post was meant to go up yesterday but sleep trumped the blog, SO here you get it today!

Even though I’m a day late with this, I’m still going to link up with Jenn’s WIAW. This of course is my version of WIAW, called What I’ve Been Eating Lately. This is an overview of some of my eats over the last week or so.

Let’s get started.

We celebrated Dana’s birthday with his parents and had one of my all-time favorite meals. Tacos. Ever since I was a little girl, when my mom would always ask me what I wanted for my birthday meal, I’d say 90% of the time my response would be tacos. Although it wasn’t my birthday this time around, Dana chose very wisely.

Before tacos though we noshed on some appetizers…

veggies and cheese and hummus

And then came the tacos…

tacosx

So good! I was disappointed in myself for loading up on so many crackers and cheese. I wasn’t able to enjoy too much of the tacos before being completely stuffed.

tacos

I prepared a semi-homemade meal made witg Annie’s gluten-free mac n’ cheese, sautéed broccoli, peas, salt and pepper, and one chicken, apple, and gouda sausage.

annie's mac n cheese

Fairlife, a lactose-free, protein-rich milk company, sent me some samples of chocolate milk, 2% milk, and skim milk. They also sent their core power protein drinks which I told them I would give to Dana and my brother to use as post-long run refuel.

I wasn’t actually planning on drinking the milk (I was going to give it all to Dana), but once I tried the chocolate milk, my plans changed. I couldn’t get enough of this stuff! Just like any chocolate milk, you still have to be careful with the sugar content, but I enjoy a half a cup here and there and it’s a great treat!

To read more about Fairlife: www.fairlife.com

fairlife chocolate milk

fairlife

A quick and simple lunch: black bean and cheese quesadilla with salsa and avocado. Is that not a perfect bite taken out of there? Didn’t even try. 😉

quesadilla

Dinner at mom and dads: tilapia, red beans and rice, and asparagus. I always forget how much I enjoy tilapia until my mom makes it for me. Then I remember. Num.

tilapia beans and rise

Eggs with spinach, mushrooms, red bell pepper, cheese, avocado and salsa. On the side, a super old hard (from the freezer) Udi’s gluten-free bun with jam. At least the eggs were good.

eggs

Amy’s organic split-pea soup. I really enjoy split-pea soup but never make it. I should really get on that, right Hannah?

amy's organic soup split pea soup

split pea soup

Goodie plates: hard-boiled egg with mustard, pickle, veggies and cottage cheese.

snack plate veggies egg pickle

And another Pinterest win. BBQ pulled beef with coleslaw courtesy of MyBakingAddiction.com. I followed the beef recipe to a T but not the coleslaw.

bbq beef and coleslaw

There you have it. Another look into some of my eats lately.

What have YOU been eating lately?

Strawberry Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal

Hi, Beautifully Nutty friends! I’m Kim from Hungry Healthy Girl, where I share my love for all things food and fitness. My recipes range from vegan to gluten-free to every once in awhile splurges. There’s something for everyone! Melanie’s blog is so much fun and I’ve been reading it ever since I met her at the Healthy Living Summit, this past September. I can honestly tell you, Melanie is just as much of a sweetheart as she comes across on her blog!

Picture from the Healthy Living Summit…. I’m in the front, second from the end on the left. Melanie’s in the middle in pink.

healthy living summit guest post kim

I was so honored and excited when Melanie asked me to guest post for her. And I’ve got a REALLY delicious recipe to share with you guys.  If you’re anything like me, breakfast is your favorite meal and a warm bowl of oats is the best, especially in the winter. And what’s better than a bowl of oats? How about cheesecake oats? Yes, please! The cottage cheese gives these baked oats the most wonderful cheesecake-like taste. I’m pretty sure Greek yogurt would work just as well, if that’s your thing, but I haven’t tried this.

strawberry cheesecake baked oatmeal

Baked oatmeal is such a handy breakfast too. I made this Strawberry Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal on Sunday and it made enough for 6 breakfasts. Each morning, I just heated up my baked oatmeal with almond milk and added a drizzle of nut butter. I also experimented with adding in blueberries one morning and granola another morning…. both lovely choices.

strawberry cheesecake baked oatmeal

Strawberry Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats, gluten-free if desired
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups milk, I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup maple syrup, honey would work too
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract¾ cup cottage cheese, Greek yogurt may be a good substitute
  • 16 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced (reserve about ½ cup for topping your oats before baking)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with a natural cooking spray. If you would prefer your baked oatmeal thicker, use a smaller sized baking dish.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt) in a large bowl. Toss in sliced strawberries (reserve about ½ cup for topping).
  3. Beat eggs in a medium bowl and then stir in the rest of the wet ingredients (milk, vanilla, maple syrup, cottage cheese).
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer oatmeal to baking dish and top with the reserved sliced strawberries.
  5. Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve with your favorite oatmeal toppers. I enjoyed my baked oats with added almond milk and coconut cashew butter.

strawberry cheesecake baked oatmeal

I really hope you get a chance to give this Strawberry Cheesecake Baked Oatmeal a try. If you’re an oatmeal fan, you won’t be disappointed!

Be sure to come visit me over at Hungry Healthy Girl. I would also love to connect on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Thank you, Kim for the delicious guest post! This would be a huge hit in my house!

Weekly Eats: Fruit and Veggie Love

Happy Hump Day!

I’m getting in on the WIAW action today and am linking up with Jenn! As always, I am recapping some of my eats from the whole week and looking back, I packed in lotsa fruits and veggies. Love it!

This colorful salad: mixed dark greens, broccoli, zucchini, pinto beans, shredded cheddar, red bell pepper, sliced almonds, and cottage cheese. SO GOOD! One of the best salads I’ve made in a while.

salad

Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers have been my go-to veggie this week. They are so crunchy and sweet and amazing.

Banana and peanut butter wrap in a brown rice tortilla with a sprinkle of cinnamon and drizzle of honey. Always a winner.

peanut butter banana wrap

Organic cottage cheese with blackberries and sliced almonds.  cottage cheese

Lots of smoothies as always.

smoothies

Gluten-free sweet potato pizza crust!

sweet potato pizza crust

Asian chicken slaw!

asian chicken slaw

My go-to fruit this week: Driscoll’s raspberries.

raspberries

My contribution to a work potluck: turkey bacon wrapped pineapple with a sprinkle of brown sugar on top!

bacon-wrapped pineapple

My potluck plate: roasted red pepper soup, pb and j, tuna noodle salad, red velvet cookie, and strawberries. We had a Valentine’s red and pink themed potluck! So many delicious treats. We don’t mess around with food at our work meetings.

work potluck

The sugar intake has gotten out of hand once again so I am planning to stay clear of refined sugar for two weeks starting now!

Have a happy day!

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

What I’ve Been Eating Lately: Mediterranean Salad and Healthy Snacks

It’s Thursday already! How about that? We are almost to the weekend again. I love having New Years in the middle of the week!

I haven’t been doing a fantastic job of snapping photos of my delicious eats, but I do have a few to share with you that have just been hanging around and deserve mentioning.

I missed the official WIAW yesterday but I’m still going to roll with it and make this a some of what I’ve been eating lately post. 

This Mediterranean inspired salad: fresh spinach, roasted zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, and onions, hummus, olives, feta, and yellow quinoa. I was originally planning on putting this all into a wrap but changed my mind last-minute; go figure.

spinach salad with mediterranean inspiration

 

I really enjoyed this salad. Dana had his as a wrap and liked it a lot too. I made a ton of the roasted veggies so we have been eating this as leftovers for days.

mediterranean wrap

 

There have been a lot of smoothies. I go back and forth about whether or not I appreciate a cold smoothie on a cold winter’s day, but lately I have been absolutely okay with it.

My latest mix might sound strange but I am really into it: frozen bananas, frozen kale, frozen blueberries, kefir, almond milk, ground flaxseed, maca powder, raw cacao powder, peanut butter, and one date. It has a smoky chocolately slightly sweet taste and I feel like I’m eating a shake for breakfast.

 

 

 

smoothie

I never said it was pretty though!

For New Year’s Eve we went over to a friend’s house for dinner. They made us Cuban calzones and parmesan spicy sweet potato fries. OMG. Everything was absolutely amazing. This inspires me to have Cuban wraps or sandwiches more often! I love the combination of textures and tastes from the smoky saltiness of the shredded pork and ham, crunchy pickle, melty cheese, and tangy mustard. K, I want to go make a Cuban right now. My compliments to the chef!!

cuban calzones

My snacks lately have been: popcorn, nuts, raisins, fresh fruit and veggies, and raw brownie bites! Have you made the brownie bites yet? If not, please do so!

brownie bites

popcorn

This was a Harry and David’s pear from Christmas. I’ve never met a more juicy pear in my life. I could go for another one of these as well. 🙂

pear

I’ve been increasing my tea (decaf) intake to help to cleanse my body of the Christmas sugar load. Plus, I’m giving my colon a break from coffee for a bit. Lately my favorite is Wild Harvest’s Green Chai Tea!

tea

 

Last night I made lemon pepper shrimp and roasted acorn squash but was incredibly disappointed when I bit into the squash. It just didn’t taste right. No wonder they were on sale I guess. I pitched the squash and made myself an array of random food: peas, crackers and cheese, some raisins, peanut butter…it turned out alright.

I’ve definitely been cleaning up my act when it comes to clean and healthy food choices (for the most part). Besides eating well, I have been staying active and ACTUALLY getting to the gym and not just doing cardio; I’m actually strength training again! Wooo! I am staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water and organic green tea. My body is thanking me and patting me on the back.

So far so good with keeping to my New Year’s casual resolution although I’m not sure what we are having for dinner tonight. I’ll get on that.

Have a great Thursday!

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? Wish to share?

Has anyone else experienced bad squash lately?

What are you snacking on these days?

The Christmas Recap

Did everyone survive Christmas? Is anyone else feeling the post-Christmas blues at all? I am a little bit. I am definitely going to keep the Christmas decorations up for a little while to help myself wean off of the holiday high.

Christmas was a blast. The majority of the celebrating started on Christmas eve morning.

Dana and I volunteer every year at the Children’s Hospital where we help wrap presents that have been donated to the children who have to be in the hospital at Christmastime.

Children's christmas eve gift wrapping dana and melanie

Children's christmas eve gift wrapping

I am always amazed at the amount of gifts that are donated. Each child gets 5-8 gifts and the bags with their gifts are all labeled so that we know the first name of the child and the age. It breaks my heart to think of anyone having to spend Christmas in the hospital, and I hope receiving some holiday cheer helps to lift their spirits.

This is about one-quarter of the amount of gifts that were wrapped.

Children's christmas eve gift wrapping

Once we were done being elves, we dashed home to get ready for Christmas Eve with Dana’s family. I threw together a fruit salad (recipe from Katie!), made myself some lunch, changed into my Christmas outfit, and headed out the door.

dana moose melanie christmas eve

We spent the afternoon and evening munching on delicious appetizers, sipping wine, opening gifts, and eating a nice Christmas eve dinner.

appetizers christmas eve

Beef tenderloin, asparagus, horseradish mashed potatoes, and my fruit salad…

christmas eve dinner

Later in the evening Dana and I met my family at church for 10:00 pm mass. They played my favorite song and mass was beautiful.

Christmas Day

On Christmas morning, we made our way to my mom and dad’s. Awaiting our arrival was this glorious loaf of monkey bread. I was amazed to learn that not everyone knows what monkey bread is. You have to try this stuff! It is caramelly and cinnamony and so darn good!

Monkey Bread

We all hung out, watched A Christmas Story, and waited for everyone else to arrive.

mom and melanie

Once the crew was there, we sat down to dinner.

christmas table mom and dads 2013

Ham, cheesy potatoes (!!!), asparagus, and strawberry spinach salad…So good!

christmas 2013

I filled my tummy to the perfect amount of satisfied, and then we all dove into the Christmas gifts. That was quite the lengthy ordeal! We must have been very good this year because there were LOTS of presents!

christmas 2013 mom and dads

After gifts we opened up our stockings and then reeeelaaxxeed. A major theme of these two days.

stocking

Eventually, it was time for dessert: Christmas cookies and ice cream, but not just any ice cream, Edy’s slow churned caramel delight ice cream. Oh my goodness, so good  ice cream dessert

We finished watching A Christmas Story, watched a home video, and then headed for home. It was such an incredible Christmas as always—we really missed Jeff and Ana though. Muchos xoxo’s to you!

I am so lucky to have such amazing families! I love you all.

So tell me about YOUR Christmas! What was your favorite treat? Your favorite gift? Most memorable moment? 

What I’ve Been Eating Lately: Eggs and Veggies

I realize I use the WIAW as an opportunity to catch you up on my eats from the past couple of weeks, so instead of calling my posts What I Ate Wednesday, I should really call them What I’ve Been Eating Lately’s (WIBEL), but I like to join in on the WIAW action so you’re just going to have to roll with my WIBEL version of the WIAW instead. Got it?

What I’ve Been Eating Lately…

More salads and a homemade honey mustard chicken Dana made which was awesome!

chicken and salad

Leftover veggie beef soup with loads of parmesan cheese…

soup with parmesan cheese

Brown rice pasta with marinara and parmesan…

gluten free pasta

Tilapia, sweet potato, brussels sprouts, and avocado. I want this again. This was insanely delicious and probably tasted better because it was cooked for me by someone else.  tilapia

Loaded salads with whatever I can find in the house: broccoli, mixed greens, sliced almonds, cottage cheese, black beans, etc….

salad

Breakfast out with my dad before some Christmas shopping for my mom! Talk about great shopping fuel.

jensen's cafe pancakes and eggs

Southwest salad with leftover avocado ranch

southwest salad

Eggs and turkey bacon…

eggs and turkey bacon

 

How’s that for a quick little WIAW WIBEL?!

Thanks again to Peas and Crayons for hosting the WIAW party!

WIAWbutton

I hope you all have a nice Wednesday. Catch up with you later.

I Love This Thing: Ninja Ultima Blender

Happy super cold Thursday to you all from Minnesota. Right now the temperature reads 5 degrees F and feels like -13 with the windchill. It surely isn’t the weather that makes you want to lace up your shoes and head out for a run, instead I want to be cozied up in my warm house with hot chocolate and a good movie. I can’t complain though because I truly enjoy all of the seasons in Minnesota. As long as you bundle up in the appropriate layers, you will be fine.

Moving on. As you may remember, in September I attended the Healthy Living Summit which was held here in Minneapolis this year. Not only did I have a blast meeting so many wonderful bloggers and hanging out with my best blends, I was also able to meet many of the sponsors and vendors at the event. For the full list of sponsors, you can look here: HLS 2013 Sponsors.

Ninja Kitchen was one of our sponsors. They are the creators of Ninja blenders, food processors, and cooking systems, and the product they were so generous to let me review, the Ninja Ultima Blender.

You may have seen the Ultima in stores or on infomercials; whipping smoothies together and pureeing soups in a matter of seconds. When the kind folks at Ninja Kitchen told me that they would give me a Ninja Ultima to try for myself, I was thrilled!

ninja ultima

 

The Ninja Ultima advertises:

  • 2.5 Peak Horsepower Motor/24,000 RPM***
  • Only blender with Dual Stage Blending
  • Total Crushing & High Speed Cyclonic Blades
  • PRO Variable Speed
  • Gives you a wide range of speeds to 
    create anything from sauces to whole juices!
  • 2 Single Serve Cups with Sip & Seal lids 
    for personalized drinks on the go source

I couldn’t wait to tear into this thing! I have used the large blender for making homemade vegan truffle brownie, which includes walnuts, dates, and cocoa powder. This machine whirls those babies together in no time. I did have to scrape down the sides of the blender in between mixing because the batter was very sticky but that’s to be expected.

 

brownie bites from ninja ultima brownie bites from ninja ultima

 

I’ve also used the large blender for pureeing soups and plan to use it for making homemade tomato sauce in the future. What I love about the Ninja Ultima is that it whips everything together SO quickly and so smoothly.

The large blender has a nice pouring spout so that you aren’t making a mess when you are pouring concoctions out of the blender. Also, every piece of the Ninja Ultima (besides the very base of course) is dishwasher safe! How do you like that?!

This blender offers various speed options, that range from a gentle blend to a total crushing.

What I have gotten the most use out of is the single serving cups. My husband and I both use them almost every day for smoothies. We fill the cups up to the line with fruits, veggies, almond milk, etc, twist on the lid and let it whirl on the blender base. Literally within seconds I have a to-go cup of deliciousness.

 

ninja ultima

 

smoothie in ninja ultima

I use the single serve cup for when I make my two-ingredient pancakes. They whip together so fast and make for perfect pancakes.

two ingredient pancakes made in ninja ultima

I’ve used it to make veggie dip too!

dip made in ninja ultima

The clean-up is a breeze I can’t voice it enough. Seriously, this contraption is pretty amazing. I realize it is a little spendy, but it would be worth every penny for the mess of clean-up and time it saves and especially if you use it as often as we do. It is the most powerful, most efficient blender I have ever owned.

Thank you to Ninja Kitchens for allowing me to review your Ninja Ultima!

Disclaimer:  Ninja Kitchen provided me with a free Ninja Ultima blender to review; however, the opinions on the product are my own.

Extended Thanksgiving & Now It’s Time for Christmas

Well, hello. How’s everyone holding up after the holiday weekend? I know I’m a little late with checking in as Thanksgiving was officially last Thursday, but many of us continued to celebrate over the weekend so I’m not too far off!

The last time I checked in I was recovering from Thanksgiving food coma #1. I’ll catch you up from there as the celebrations continued over the weekend.

On Friday, I started the morning off right with a slice of homemade gluten-free almond bread with peanut butter and a touch of organic maple syrup.

almond bread with peanut butter

Mid-morning I got a four-mile walk in on the treadmill while watching Gossip Girls, again. 🙂 For lunch, LEFTOVERS of course!

thanksgiving leftovers

After I filled my belly with turkey, Dana and I headed out to find our Christmas tree. Every year we go out to a tree farm and chop our own tree down. This year we went to two different tree farms, trekked around for a good hour and a half, and realized we were much too picky when it came to finding our tree this year and we left with nothing.

We weren’t finding one that was full enough or fat enough, so instead of settling, we moved on….to Costco. After our long hunt all bundled up in winter gear in the tree farms, we ended up buying our tree at Costco this year. It is absolutely perfect and was half the price too! We can’t say we didn’t try.

We set it up on Friday but didn’t decorate it until Sunday because the tree needed to settle, but here is the finished product from Sunday! Da da da da………

christmas tree

Moose was unimpressed but I’m impressed myself. It turned out great!

moose close up

On Saturday we headed over to Dana’s parents to celebrate Thanksgiving with them. They made my favorite cheesy veggie recipe which I go crazy for.

cheesy vegetables

Au gratin sweet and russet potatoes…

au gratin potatoes

I contributed a fruit salad made with whole cranberry sauce, crushed pineapple, grapes, walnuts, and whipped cream. This was so easy and very tasty.

fruit salad thanksgiving plate

I cleaned my plate and loved every bite. Apparently I didn’t snap a photo of dessert but it was a very delicious piece of homemade pumpkin pie! Num num num. I love celebrating Thanksgiving twice!!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is officially time to think about Christmas. Who am I kidding, I was already listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. But now it is in full swing: music, shopping, treats, snow, potlucks, mint mochas, family, friends, parties! I am excited!

Happy day to you all. I hope you had a great weekend!

The Food!

Thanksgiving was a huge success.  I had so much fun with family and friends.  I don’t think I stopped smiling all day.

I started the day off with my first 5k run in goodness knows how long!!!  This particular 5k is my all-time favorite and I get excited for it every year. It has probably been 4-5 months since I’ve run a 5k but I ran the whole thing alongside a great friend and it felt fabulous.

My body is aching a bit today but I am okay with that! I am ready to start running again! I am extremely motivated to get back in shape after the rollercoaster past four months or so.

I hadn’t planned on running so my pre-race fuel wasn’t exactly the most nutritious, but it sure was tasty. We started the day off with cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven! My mom would always make these for us on holidays so making these in the morning definitely brought back a lot of memories.

cinnamon rolls cinnamon roll

Not much needs to be said about the food on Thanksgiving except for OMG. My all-time favorite meal of all times.

To appetize….Kevi brought crackers with cream cheese, olives, and bacon. These little babies are wayyyyy too good. I stopped myself at three but it was a struggle to keep my paws off of them.

appetizers

The glorious 20# turkey…

turkey thanksgiving turkey cranberry thanksgiving

Dressing/Stuffing…

stuffing thanksgiving

Sweet potatoes…

sweet potatoes thanksgiving

Green bean casserole (I brought this one), recipe courtesy of Alton Brown with a few changes made by moi.

green bean casserole thanksgiving

I forgot a photo of the mashed potatoes—one of my favorite parts of the whole meal!

My glowing plate. Oh wait, it was me that was glowing, not the plate.

thanksgiving 2013

My homemade desserts: Pumpkin pie and caramel apple pecan pie!!!

thanksgiving pie pumpkin pie and apple pie

caramel apple pecan pie thanksgiving

I finished the holiday feeling perfectly satisfied—not so stuffed I could hardly walk, but enough to satisfy my favorite meal food quota.

I am so thankful for this meal, for my friends, for my family, and for hope and faith.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving to those who celebrated and a great Thursday to those who didn’t! Happy FRIDAY!