(Healthier) Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

Oh, hey!

The weekend is drawing to a close, it’s hotter than hot these days, so how about a quick and easy recipe to kick off the week and cool you off? It’s a no-brainer. Of course you want to keep reading…

This is a simplified version of my favorite chocolate peanut butter smoothie that includes only 5 ingredients and is a bit more decadent thanks to chocolate Almond Breeze.

This concoction is peanut buttery and chocolatey, and in my opinion, that’s really all you need :wink:. I’m calling it a healthier chocolate peanut butter shake. Super creative, I’m fully aware.

almond breeze easy smoothie

(Healthier) Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

  • 1 medium/large frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup frozen kale
  • 1/2 cup chocolate almond milk*
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter or powdered peanut butter

Blend all ingredients together until fully smooth and combined; there should be no lumps and it will be thick! Add more milk if necessary. Drink through straw and enjoy!

*You can always substitute unsweetened vanilla almond milk plus a little bit (or a lot!) of cocoa powder if you don’t have chocolate almond milk on hand!

This “shake” can be considered a breakfast, a snack, a dessert, whatever you wish. It literally is all whipped together in about 2 minutes thanks to the help of the blender. It’s a great way to sneak in another dose of veggies too!

I have to be totoally honest here…it is VERY rare that I ever measure out ingredients, so if you need to add more or less of any of these 5 ingredients, by all means, DO! My shake comes out just a tad bit different everytime, but always tastes fabulous.

What are you waiting for? Get shakin’!

 

This “Easy as Breeze” post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. For more “Easy As Breeze” recipes made with five ingredients or less, visit Almond Breeze on Facebook (http://facebook.com/almondbreeze), Twitter (http://twitter.com/almondbreeze), Instagram (http://instagram.com/almondbreezeus) and Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/almondbreeze).

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.

Honey Nut Banana Oat Muffins (w/ Blue Diamond Almonds)

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past couple of months or so, you have learned that I am already into the hardcore “nesting” mode. I am wanting to organize everything in sight, I can’t stop thinking about the baby room and projects I want to tackle to decorate, I clean the house on Friday nights….yea that’s what’s happening.

Another part of nesting is food prep. I plan to make a handful of freezer meals to have on hand for when baby arrives. I’ve got a little list going of meals I want to prep in the next month or two (I will share this with you hopefully!).

I began my fresh freezer food stash this week.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a package from Blue Diamond which included two new flavors of almonds: Honey Roasted Vanilla and Honey Roasted Chipotle. The honey chipotle ones have been a serious hit for me. I love snacking on them. They are spicy and sweet and my taste buds are very happy with that combo.

The honey roasted vanilla are incredibly tasty too. I had to ration them because I knew I wanted to use them in a baking experiment, and the baking experiment turned out to be a success.

Enter: Honey Nut Banana Oat Muffins with Blue Diamond Almonds. A fully loaded recipe title.

honey nut banana oat muffins

I used the food processor to process oats and Blue Diamond’s honey roasted almonds to use as my flour!

honey nut banana oat muffins

The muffins are sweetened naturally with bananas and honey.

honey nut banana oat muffins

They take very little time to prepare and only 25 minutes to bake!

honey nut banana oat muffins honey nut banana oat muffins honey nut banana oat muffins honey nut banana oat muffins

These babies turned out fabulous. I kept a few out to enjoy now, but froze the rest so I could have a quick and healthy snack to grab from the freezer upon baby’s arrival!

Honey Nut Banana Oat Muffins
Print
Makes 12 muffins.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups oats
  • ¼ cup plus 2-3 Tbsp. ground honey vanilla almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use cooking spray to lightly coat a 12 muffin, muffin pan.
  2. In a food processor, process oats into flour consistency. Mine turned out to be a little coarse and that worked out just fine too.
  3. In a medium bowl combine oats, ¼ cup ground almonds, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl beat together remaining ingredients until smooth.
  5. Slowly beat in flour mixture. Beat to combine.
  6. Pour mixture evenly into muffin pan. Sprinkle with remaining 2-3 Tbsp. of ground almonds.
  7. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle of muffin (towards the middle of the pan) comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy as is, with butter, peanut butter, honey. They are a perfect on the go breakfast or snack.

Keep an eye out for these new flavors. They are very palate pleasing!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. I was given samples for free, however all opinions expressed on the products are solely my own.

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!

Project Freezer Clean Out

Did this weekend even exist? It went by so fast!

I had a fabulous weekend really, packed with family, beautiful walks, great food, and home projects. Here’s a quick little recap of what was happening around mi casa this weekend.

Friday

I was feeling exhausted after work but brought myself to walk for 35 minutes. Dinner was simple but tasted SO good! It was sautéed broccoli, zucchini, onions, and green beans with diced chicken, apple, and gouda sausage! The dish was very flavorful thanks to the snausage sausage.

chicken sausage veggie saute

Saturday

I met my cousin Betsy out at Target Field in Minneapolis for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Our local news anchor Diana Pierce kicked off the event. Senator Amy Klobuchar also spoke, and I saw local sports reporter Eric Perkins on the walk and said “hi”! To any locals, you might know some of these folks. 🙂

walk for alzheimers walk for alzheimers

The weather was beautiful and the walk was so much fun. We were led through the streets of downtown Minneapolis and into Loring Park (which is where I was last weekend!)

walk for alzheimers

Bets and I made a pit stop at Caribou on the way back of course. Because of this, we didn’t win the race. 😉

There are so many people affected by Alzheimer’s, my grandma being one of them. It is a horrible disease that needs to end! They are researching like crazy to find the cure, and I pray they do. I can’t wait to do the walk again next year to support the research and end Alzheimer’s.

This weekend I solidified my obsession for these Blue Diamond Salt n’ Vinegar Almonds that I got from the Summit last weekend. I’ve looked in CVS and Target so far and I haven’t been able to find this flavor anywhere yet. I should have grabbed ten bags at the Summit. Seriously these things are awesome! They are tangy and salty. MMM…mmmm!

blue diamond salt n vinegar almonds

 

I dragged the Fall decorations up on Saturday. Our house is looking mighty festive!

mantle fall autumn

 

In the evening we had a bunch of family over for dinner at our house. I finally got to wear my ZeeBee Threads t-shirt dress! I paired it with a zebra print scarf, grey leggings, and actually had to wear a long black cardigan too because it was CHILLY! This dress is so incredibly comfortable. I was so happy to be comfy yet still be wearing a cute outfit at the same time. Ya’ll know I’m all about comfort.

zeebee threads dress

I was overly excited for dinner because we were getting pizza. I should really look back on the blog to determine the last time I actually ate real, not gluten-free, not cauliflower pizza crust… just real original legit pizza. My system has been cooling down quite a bit and I wanted to try this one treat to see how I held up.

pizza

The results: I think I felt fine—I didn’t feel any different really! Not that I will make this a common meal but it’s good to know I can handle it every once and a while. It tasted just as good as I remembered too!

Sunday

I am beginning a project freezer clean out and dug this up from the freezer: gluten-free lemon blueberry bread. I topped it with some almond butter and called it breakfast.

blueberry lemon bread

After breakfast we ran our errands and got a few groceries but not too many because we are going on VACATION at the end of the week! I am realizing I haven’t said much about this yet. More to come on the vaca 411.

This week I plan to eat food from the freezer primarily. We have loads of frozen veggies, frozen meats, leftover soups, chili, etc. It will feel good to begin cleaning out the freezer! PROJECT FREEZER (and fridge) CLEAN OUT!

For dinner I made a batch of yellow quinoa and topped it with sautéed broccoli, zucchini, onions, chicken, and fresh tomatoes, olives, and hummus. A Mediterranean-inspired dish! My fav.

 

mediterranean inspired meal

 

It tasted as good as it looked!

We tackled a few projects around the house, relaxed a bit, watched some of the Emmy’s, and called it an early night on Sunday. It was another fabulous weekend for the books!

How was YOUR weekend? What did you do?

Are you in need of a project freezer clean out?

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.