Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve with Almond Breeze

Thank you for all of the love on my last post. It means so much to us. Each day is getting a little bit easier but I still find myself doing things like closing the bathroom door when we leave the house (so he doesn’t sneak in and raid the garbage) and waiting for his howl when the UPS guy comes by. It will take a long time to get used to not having our big guy around. Forever loved and remembered.

moose

 

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On a different note…

I teamed up with Blue Diamond Almond Breeze and whipped up an incredibly delicious (and healthy) dessert or snack!

I’ve mentioned it before and I will mention it again: Banana Soft Serve. This time I added cocoa powder and peanut butter to create Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Soft Serve!!

chocolate peanut butter banana soft serve

This is the EASIEST dessert ever!

All you need is:

  • frozen bananas (about one medium or large banana per person)
  • A few splashes of Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 scoop of peanut butter (I generally use Smuckers Natural but used Smart Balance this time)
  • 1 heaping spoonful of cocoa powder (add more or less to your liking)
  • Optional: vanilla wafers and sprinkles to top the creamy soft serve

almond breeze banana soft serve

In your blender, blend bananas, almond milk, cocoa powder, and peanut butter until smooth and creamy.

banana soft serve

banana soft serve

Serve it up and eat right away! Feel free to top the creamy soft serve with vanilla wafers, fresh berries, sprinkles, chocolate chips, whipped cream, or whatever you have around!

Smooth and creamy and such a naturally sweet little dessert!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

Friday Favs: 1 2 3

HAPPY Friday! Today I’m playing along with Katie’s Friday Favorites! The date is 1/23 hence my post title. #nerd

FAVS

1. I’m noticing a trend in my phone photos in that they are 98% all of Bode. Not surprising right? He is my #1 favorite this week and every week. He is now officially in the crib and is a total rockstar! More sleep for mama makes for one happy lady. He is growing so quickly and changing every day. He amazes me.

2. Healthy meals. I am thrilled to have gotten out of my post-partum no-cook slump. This may go hand in hand with the fact that I am getting more sleep?!

kabob

3. The crock pot. The glorious crock pot. We were friends before but now we are BEST friends. I made a pork roast the other day and it couldn’t have been more easy thanks to my buddy.

 

 

pork tenderloin crock pot

4. Bridesmaid dress shopping for this beautiful girl’s wedding! I am insanely excited for this wedding and for the events leading up to it!

 

 

bridesmaid dress shopping betsy melanie

5. Rose ointment from Young Living. Unfortunately I have been dealing with dermatitis on my face and not only is it terribly embarrassing but it’s just annoying. My skin is so darn dry. This rose ointment has helped tremendously with that. And the smell, oh the smell is beautiful. Young Living in general is a Friday Favorite. This company rocks my socks.

 

 

rose ointment young living

 

6. I am limiting my gluten and dairy intake not only for my own health but to experiment with the little man and his reaction to my milk. This cream cheese is surprisingly delicious. It tastes darn near close to normal cream cheese and tastes great on almond crackers!

 

go veggie cream cheese

I hope you all have a super weekend! Relax and enjoy!

xoxo

Healthy Snacking with Blue Diamond

Remember this box of snacking goodness I received a few weeks ago from the wonderful folks at Blue Diamond? If you don’t, here’s another glimpse…

blue diamond snacks

That’s a lot of delicious loot, right? Blue Diamond asked me how I get my good going now that the weather is finally starting to warm up.

The summer is crazy. We all know that. Especially those of us who live in the Northern climates who only get to enjoy warm weather for 3-4 months. We pack everything we can into those 3-4 months. Camping trips, hiking, bike rides, vacations, weddings, and of course, shopping for new summer clothes. There is so much fun to be had!

The days can be busy (in a good way busy), and so I always make sure to have plenty of snacks with me wherever I go. I stash snacks in my car and in my purse because you never know when hunger will strike and no one wants to encounter hangry Melanie. This is where Blue Diamond snacks come in to play so perfectly. They offer so many fun flavors of almonds and their snack chips are a household staple for us!

Here are some snacks that I like to have on hand…

Trail mix with roasted salted Blue Diamond almonds. In this mix I threw together the almonds, a dried fruit combo that I had of craisins, blueberries, cherries, and raisins, and Corn Bran cereal. Use whatever you have on hand and make your own trail mix to go. It’s a fun little snack to have around. Kids love it too!

blue diamond snacks blue diamond snacks trail mix

One of my all-time favorite Blue Diamond almond flavors: Salt n’ Vinegar. I stash these in my car and they are perfect while out running errands. They don’t need any accompaniments if you ask me. They are so good by themselves! Mmmmm!

blue diamond snacks

A true snack staple in our house is Almond Nut Thins. These crunchy snack crackers are gluten-free too! These would be great for a picnic out with friends or family. Grab a box and top it with your favorite spread: hummus, laughing cow and muffuletta olive spread, cheese, cottage cheese, guacamole, salsa. Get creative!

blue diamond snacks blue diamond snacks

Don’t leave the house without throwing some Blue Diamond almonds into your purse or car. They are the absolute perfect snack for your super fun and jam-packed summer!

Disclosure: I was given free Blue Diamond products to sample and review but all opinions expressed on the products are solely my own.

If you could only choose ONE flavor of Blue Diamond to eat ever again, which would you choose?

I would have to say salt ‘n vinegar or roasted salted! Black pepper rosemary is really good too though!

What I’ve Been Noshing On Lately

Instead of my usual “what I’ve been eating lately” title, I thought I’d switch it up a bit. Just like my other WIAW posts, this one highlights some of my eats over the last week or so.

What I’ve Been Noshing On Lately…

I didn’t want an actual Olive Garden entrée, I just wanted the salad that comes with it, so that’s exactly what we ordered for pick up. Have you guys ever had Olive Garden’s house salad? It is seriously so good!

olive garden salad

Fruit and nut “cereal” bowl complete with blueberries, strawberries, banana, sliced almonds, raisins, and almond milk. So pretty!

fruit cereal

Grilled burger loaded with mushrooms and onions with steak fries!

burger

Croque monsieur, croque madames and French onion soup. We had our friends over on Friday who we went to Paris with (I know, I know I still need to do a recap Paris), and we had a reminiscent meal of our trip there complete with baguette, European beer and Perrier. A croque monsieur is basically a grilled ham and cheese  with extra cheese on top, and a croque madame is a grilled ham and cheese with a sunny-side egg on top. These were better than the ones we had in Paris! So was the soup!

croque madam and french onion

Taco salad made with ground turkey. Have I mentioned how completely obsessed I am with tacos?!

taco salad

I’ve been happily snacking on Blue Diamond almonds and crackers thanks to the wonderful folks at Blue Diamond!!

blue diamond almonds

Banana soft-serve (straight, no mix-ins) made by Dana. This stuff is so stinking amazing. Please, please make it if you haven’t. Grab your blender, throw in a bunch of frozen bananas, a splash of almond milk (or whatever kind of milk you have on hand) and let the blender mix it to a soft-serve consistency. You have to stop in the process and scrape the sides, so it takes a little bit of work, but it is completely and totally worth it so do it!

banana softserve

Homemade meatloaf made with grass-fed beef and LOTS of ketchup obviously.

meatloaf

Chicken and steak shish kabobs from the kitchen of Kathy and Tom (mom and dad). Kabobs scream summer to me and although it was only about 40°F when we ate these babies, I still got that summer feeling.

kabobs

Broccoli and cheese soup from Panera annnnnd I had $1 off because I use my Panera points card every time I go which made it taste even better. Um…yes!

panera broccoli cheese soup

Breakfasts are almost always still my go-to smoothie: frozen blueberries, frozen banana, kale, almond milk, peanut butter and raw cacao powder. When your breakfast tastes like a peanut butter chocolate shake, why would you want to break away from it?!

I think my body is trying to fight off a cold so I’m trying to feed it lots of good healthy and nutritious foods. Or maybe it’s just allergies? I’m not sure.

Questions:

What’s the best thing you have eaten lately?

Have you ever had Olive Garden’s salad? Do you love it as much as I do?

Favorite Soup, Clean Things & Pups

TGIF!

I’m linking up with Katie once again for Friday favorites!

1. Getting goodies delivered to my door. Blue Diamond hooked me up with a fun little Olympic-inspired box of almonds.

blue diamond almonds

2. Lunch with two amazing and inspiring women at Panera. Can you believe I ordered the French Onion soup? I’m a creature of habit apparently. That, and French Onion soup is one of my all-time favs and since I don’t go to Panera too often, it’s one I like to order on repeat. And yes, I ate my whole loaf of bread with little repercussions (yay!) but I don’t plan on making that a habit.

panera french onion

3. As much as Moose is driving me crazy lately with his stir-craziness, he is so stinking cute still. I mean really, who can blame him. I would go stir-crazy too this winter. As you may have heard, we got bombarded with snow yesterday and Moose was in his dreamland. He just sat out in the snow and watched the world go by.

moose snow winter

moose snow winter  moose snow winter

4. Experimenting with my Young Living Essential Oils and finding new combos that work for different ailments/household messes/stinky gym shoes/sticker residue, etc. Being that I’m a science nerd, experimenting with oils gets me all happy.

lemon oil

5. These cleaning brushes from Collections Etc. The kind folks at CollectionsEtc.com sent me these cleaning brushes to review.

collections etc

I realize this is a bit of a random one for me, but the reason I agreed to review these is because I thought they would be perfect for cleaning the CamelBak water bottles which both Dana and I use on a daily basis. The downfall to the CamelBak is that there are a lot of nooks and crannies where bacteria can grow and it’s not always easy to clean out.

Well…I am happy to report that these little gadgets did a pretty fine job at disinfecting the water bottles. I used a lemon oil/vinegar/water blend to clean these along with the brushes.

The only issue I had was that not all of the straws on the water bottles are the same size, and so the cleaning tool got stuck in one of the straws. I had to unwind it out. So, technically it came out, just not easily so I guess I shouldn’t necessarily say it got “stuck.”

IMG_0413

It worked great for the mouthpiece.

collections etc

And inside of the straw insert hole.

collections etc

So far I have only used these brushes on the water bottle but I am definitely satisfied with the product! I have my eye on some cute tumblers on their website too!

Happy Friday to you all!

Disclaimer: Collections Etc. sent me these cleaning brushes to review on Beautifully Nutty. All opinions expressed on the product are solely my own.

Friday Favs: Comforts and Pampering

Did everyone enjoy their tropical getaway yesterday? :wink: I have to admit that I forgot all about it, darnit! I’ll be sure to try to visit the sunshine again today.

How about a little Friday Favorites link up with Katie?!

Okay!!

1. This killer salad combo. As much as I haven’t been craving cold salads these days, I decided to throw together this beauty on a whim last night. It was spinach, garbanzo beans, feta cheese, olives, broccoli, sunflower seeds, hardboiled egg, and ranch dressing. It tasted like a salad from a fancy salad bar; I think the egg really made it.

salad

2. Appropriate warm winter gear especially my Sorel boots. I live in those things in the winter. They keep my feet so warm and dry, plus they are cute! I get compliments on them everywhere I go.

jump in winter gear

melanie at nelsons

3. A cup of coffee. I have been limiting my coffee and caffeine intake (again, just trying to give my digestive system a break from stimulants), but this past week I gave in and had some coffee. I am so grateful for a warm and creamy cup of jo. It is such a comfort to me in the mornings. As much as I have been trying to replace coffee with tea in the morning, and convince myself that it is just as good, I can’t. It just doesn’t compare and never will.

coffee

4. My manicured nails and pedicured toes. I only get mani/pedis done once a year but think I may have to make it more of a habit (especially the toes) because it feels so good to have my hands, feet and nails all cleaned up!

pedicure toes

5. My bed. We own a Tempur-Pedic and I can only begin to tell you how amazing it is. I look forward to crawling into bed at night. The bed hugs you softly yet is perfectly firm. My Tempur-Pedic pillow supports my neck and keeps my spine aligned. Awww, excuse me as I go crawl back in bed now. :wink:

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Coffee or tea?

Cold salads in the winter?

Favorite winter gear?

Fun weekend plans?

Friday Favorites

Favorites from the Week: Spin, Florida, Food

Happy Friday! I’m linkin’ up with Katie’s Friday Favorites today. Thanks, Katie!

Many of my Friday favorites involve events that you have already heard about this week. Although, there is one amazing day that I still have to share about (I won’t forget I promise!).

Some of my Friday Favorites…

1. Spin class with Dana and Dara Torres. A great workout instructed by an olympian with my honey by my side. Sounds nice, right? dara

2. Snacking on Driscoll’s blueberries! So crunchy and sweet and fiberlicious. blueberries

3. Homemade California Rolls with quinoa instead of white rice. This was my first ever attempt at using quinoa instead of white rice in these rolls. I let the quinoa cook for an extended period of time before stirring in a vinegar, honey, salt, and water mixture. The combination of overcooking the quinoa and adding the vinegar mixture made the quinoa perfectly sticky and so easy to use in the rolls. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to white rice! sushi 4. Mini getaway to Orlando with Dana. Sunshine, relaxation, and Disney. :smile: orlando 5. Salt ‘n Vinegar Blue Diamond Almonds. I mentioned these a couple of days ago I realize, but they make an appearance again because they are SO good. blue diamond almonds

6. The kettle chips from M. Tavern in Orlando. The chips were super crunchy just how I like them. kettle chips 7. Egg salad with avocado. One hard-boiled egg, 1/4 of an avocado, mustard, green onions, and pepper. A perfect snack or addition to your lunch! egg avocado salad 8. Wild Harvest’s Organic Green Chai Tea. (I originally typed green thai chee. A little dyslexic today I guess). :smile: I’ve been limiting my coffee intake and replacing with tea instead and this has been a morning staple for me. I add a splash of coconut milk creamer too. green chai tea   Friday Favorites

There you have it!

What are some of your Friday favs?

Current breakfast beverage?

Current favorite snack?

What I’ve Been Eating Lately: Random and Tasty

It’s been a while since I’ve caught you all up on what I have been eating lately. I will warn you that my eats have been completely random. I have been veering away from the cold salads more often in place of something warm like soup or quesadillas.

Thank you to Jen at Peas and Crayons for hosting the What I Ate Wednesdays!

WIAWbutton

Here it goes!

Gluten-free pasta with mom’s spaghetti sauce. NUM!

gluten free spaghetti

Cheese quesadillas with salsa.

gluten free quesadilla

Organic tomato soup with extra cracked black pepper.

tomato soup

Homemade veggie dip made from cottage cheese, ranch seasoning, and Italian seasoning packets–the Ninja Ultima was perfect for this job!

homemade cottage cheese veggie dip

Veggie plate with veggie dip.

veggie plate

Grass-fed beef burger with Monterey jack cheese.

burger

Acorn squash with turkey bacon.

squash

Oatmeal for National Oatmeal Day!

oatmeal

More quesadillas, this time with black beans and avocados too!

quesadillas

Loads of berries (recycled photo)!!

driscolls berries

Baked strawberry oatmeal bars.

IMG_4310

I told you…completely random, but TASTY!

What have you been eating lately?! 

WIAW: What I Have Been Eating Lately

Today I’m joining in on the fun with a round of Peas and Crayon’s, “What I Ate Wednesday,” but instead of what I ate Wednesday, I am renaming mine to what I have been eating lately.

WIAWbutton

Loads of fresh and sweet berries thanks to Driscoll’s berries!!

berries

Spinach salads with strawberries, black beans, avocado, chicken, sunflower seeds, and honey mustard dressing.

spinach salad

Fruit and Nut “Cereal”–blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, bananas, sliced almonds, cashew pieces, dried currants, cacao nibs, and almond milk! And I just decided that is what’s for breakfast today! Num!

paleo cereal

Leftover Four Bean Quinoa Chili from the freezer!

leftover chili

Two over-easy eggs with sautéed onions, fresh garden tomatoes, avocado, and salsa!

eggs

Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins. These things are crazy good! The box is empty.

blue diamond crackers

 

Dates for a little bit of a sweet treat.

dates and pb

And last but not least, homemade almond butter!

 

 

almond butter

 

I’d say I’ve been eating pretty darn well!

 

What have YOU been eating lately?

The Healthy Living Summit 2013: Full Recap

Happy Tuesday! Guess what I’m doing tonight? Going to a spin class with Dara Torres! Not only is it my first spin class, but I get to meet an Olympian at the same time?! I am super pumped!

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Healthy Living Summit 2013

It’s time for some Healthy Living Summit recapping. I am bound and determined to squeeze this all into one post. Last year I broke it into four posts. It might get lengthy, but I think I can do it. Grab a cup of tea and settle in a comfy chair for this one.

Thursday

I snagged my Caroline from the airport as we both gave each other the girliest greeting ever with lots of shrieking and hugs. Caroline and I met last year at the Summit in Boston. We have kept in touch over the past year and have become the best of friends. I adore her.

caroline melanie

This was her first time in Minnesota so we checked a couple of touristy things off the list: a walk around Lake Calhoun and a trip to the Mall of America. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing in our comfies and went to bed early to rest up for the festivities that lay ahead.

Friday

Wild Harvest hosted a tour of their test kitchens and labs in Eden Prairie, MN. Wild Harvest was the gold sponsor for the Healthy Living Summit and is an organic food company. They are responsible for the brands Wild Harvest, Essential Everyday, Culinary Corner, among others. You have probably seen these brands in your grocery store.

Being that I am a dietitian, setting foot into their facilities and seeing their test kitchens and labs was a dream to me. Back in college I had a couple of classes that focused on product development including taste testing, sensory labs, and ingredient adjustment. This brought back a lot of memories!

wild harvest

After the tour we headed out to the Hilton in downtown Minneapolis where the Summit was being held. We got all checked in, were greeted by the amazing organizing team, and got situated in our room.

I was SO excited to see Becky and Katie! Caroline, Becky, Katie, and I all roomed together for the weekend. I know you’re thinking that’s crazy: four girls and one bathroom sounds like a nightmare, but it actually worked out just fine! It was never a problem.

We headed to a presentation given by Nancy Clark, RD about proper refueling post-workout. After that we got sweaty with an Insanity workout. I only did it at half speed and I was still dripping sweat by the end of it!

Next on the agenda: dinner at Kindee Thai. There was a group of 12 of us girls who met there and I got to meet so many great ladies and eat tasty chicken and veggie stir fry. Let’s see if I can remember everyone at dinner: Gabe, Jen, Becky, Natalie, Katie, Amanda, Kim, Hannah, Katie T., and Caroline. Did I do it girls? I will feel terrible if I forgot someone!

Kindee thai

After dinner we headed across the street to the Guthrie Theater where our cocktail party was being held. If you’ve ever been there, the event was held on the endless bridge. The views are gorgeous!

We mingled, made new friends, and had some serious fun in the photo booth. In the photos below: Caroline, Jen, Becky, Katie, Hannah, Kim, and Me.

hls cocktail party

The evening flew by and before I knew it I was snuggled into bed. Unfortunately I cannot sleep well for the life of me on the first night in any new place, so I got a total of five hours that night maybe.

Saturday

But that’s okay because there was plenty of healthy food and beverages to keep me perky during the day on Saturday! I even had my first experience with Energy Bits which are made from 100% organically grown spirulina algae, and loaded with 40 nutrients and protein. They are a healthy energy boost and 100% natural whole food which is the only way I would ever take an energy supplement.

hls 13 food

Saturday was spent listening to panels and interacting with new blog friends and the sponsors at the event. My girl Katie was one of the presenters! Go Katie!

conferences

I took away some new tips for the blog and am hoping to make some great changes and enhancements to Beautifully Nutty!

Sponsors: Wild Harvest (gold sponsor), Driscoll’s Berry (my jam), Blue Diamond, Ninja Kitchen, Musselman’s, Refuel Got Chocolate Milk, Sargento, 360 PR, Ortholite,  and CocoVia.

hls sponsors

In the afternoon we had a little down-time, so the girls and I headed out for a walk around the area. Even though I am from Minnesota, I don’t get to the downtown area very often, so the whole weekend was so much fun for me. I was discovering new places to explore in MN!

hls roomies walk

Saturday night we had plans to get all dolled up one more time and go out to dinner. Our plans changed when we got into our hotel room at the end of the day, got into our comfy clothes, and sat down. Not to mention it was also raining outside. A roomie vote concluded that we would not be going out to dinner. Instead, we picked up Chipotle and a bottle of wine and snuggled into our hotel room for the evening. Our honorary roomie Tara, joined us too! We were all giddy that we decided to stay in!

Sunday

I slept WAY better the second night and was ready for the HLS13 5K bright and early Sunday morning. It was a walk or run depending on however you wanted to tackle it. Our group decided to walk it. We made our way over to the sculpture garden where we got real corny posing in front of the big cherry on a spoon.

hls roomies by the cherry

The air was crisp and we decided a Caribou Coffee stop was necessary for the way back. Once we got back to the hotel, we joined everybody in the main conference room for a farewell breakfast. Heather and Julie, the main organizers of the event, thanked us all for coming and then revealed to us the location of HLS for next year: Madison, WI! Just a 3.5 hour car ride from me!

I have to give a HUGE shout out to the whole HLS planning team. You ladies rock my socks. You are so organized and thoughtful, and made the summit so memorable once again! THANK YOU!

Here was the swag damage…

hls 13 swag

 

Whoa baby that’s a lotta swag! So many companies donated amazing swag. We even got a Kona Kase and a Nature Box! So many goodies!

And the fun continues. The lovely ladies from Driscoll’s had heaping amounts of leftover berries, and since I drove to the conference and didn’t have to worry about flying berries home, they sent me home with mounds of berries.

driscolls berries

 

Berry heaven. I froze the berries and will be using them for the next 5 years few months in smoothies, sorbets, and who knows, I might even make some homemade jam? You’d like that Tara, right?! Although I didn’t win any of the giveaway prizes over the weekend, I feel like I won with these berries!

And now for the cheesiness. I also feel like I won because I had the most incredible weekend with my girls. I love spending time with these women—they are all truly amazing. I got to meet so many wonderful ladies who all have a story to tell, and who are all beautiful and unique in their own special way. It’s incredible being at a function like this where everyone has a common interest and passion. You never run out of things to talk about! Thank you HLS for another great year! Until next time. xoxo.

One last note: the Hilton Minneapolis was the perfect place to stay for the summit. Our room was plenty big for four of us girls plus all of our clothes and swag. They were extremely accommodating and I would recommend this hotel to others visiting the area.