raspberry granola yogurt bowl

Itz been a hot minute since I’ve linked up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday!  I thought today would be a good day, mostly because yesterday I actually remembered to snap photos of most of what I ate.  But first, let’s begin with some William cuteness.  He spent the day at my parents’ house (his Yaya and Pops), and clearly had the best time ever.

william yaya pops

Itz a shame he’s not a happy baby, eh? 😉

Ok, now for my tasty food.  Breakfast involved a raspberry granola yogurt bowl.  (And itz the name of this post since itz literally the only thing I actually made to eat all day.)

raspberry yogurt granola bowl

We’ve got some plain Chobani Greek yogurt sweetened with Pure Via vanilla stevia, mixed with Cascadian Farm ancient grains granola, and tons of fresh raspberries. Driscoll’s raspberries were on sale for a dollar at the grocery store; I’ve never seen them that cheap, so I stocked up and put an entire container in my bowl.  So good.

When my dad picked up William for the day, he also brought some chicken salad that my mom made.  I love this chicken salad and will soon make my own batch of it.  But for now, I’ll eat hers for lunch (while I pump).chicken salad

My mom’s chicken salad includes chicken (duh), light mayo, dijon mustard, dried cranberries, almond slivers, celery, and apples.  Itz the perfect combination.

You all know I snack ALL.DAY.LONG. and I captured most of them.

snacks

  • Detour SMART bar in blueberry
  • Juicy plum
  • KIND bar in nut delight
  • Dates with peanut butter
  • Turkey slices
  • Banana chocolate chip muffie (made by my mom)

Not pictured snacks included honey wheat pretzels from Trader Joe’s and fruit salad.  So this was the first time I tried the whole date with peanut butter thing.  I had seen it on several other blogs and I love both dates and peanut butter, so I thought why not?  I was at my parents’ when I tried it and my dad immediately said it sounded weird.  To be honest, I didn’t love it.  I felt like the peanut butter overpowered the sweet date flavor and I couldn’t really taste the dates at all.  So after one, I put the peanut butter away and helped myself to a few more plain dates.

I’ve been drinking tons of water lately thanks to breastfeeding.  I usually drink an entire bottle when I pump and I pump three times at school and twice at home on working days.  Usually one of those bottles includes a Cocogo packet.  Use code ITZLINZ to save $$!

cup

My absolute favorite cup ever.

I hung out at my parents’ when I picked up William, and my dad had made a delicious beef stew in the crockpot for dinner.

beef stew

We had steamed cauliflower on the side.

For dessert, I had a bowl of Edy’s slow churned mint cookie crunch ice cream, but instead of showing you that I’m going to show you dessert from the weekend because there is a funny story that goes with it.  It was at the rehearsal dinner of my cousin’s wedding, and the waiters were bringing dessert to the table.  There was cherry pie and a delicious super chocolatey thing (I don’t know what itz called).  Well, they were alternating plates of dessert for the guests at each table, so every two people had one of both.  I noticed our server still had two plates left on his tray after we were served. I don’t like sharing dessert, so I begged and pleaded for him to give me my own set of desserts.  Then my sister chimed in and told this young man that I was breastfeeding. Needless to say, I got both desserts and was pretty happy about it.

dessert

I devoured both.  (See, Uncle Ricky? I told you this picture would make the blog!)  Jonny is smiling in the background either because he’s just as happy as me that he didn’t have to share his dessert or because he’s proud of my skills to get extra dessert!

And just for kicks, let’s end with a picture of the world’s cutest baby.

william happy smile

Bye bye now.

What delicious food have you eaten lately?

Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Milkshake

Apparently itz National Cheesecake Day.  I didn’t even know.  Well, this is just perfect!

There’s just something about milkshakes that call summer’s name.  Itz probably because they’re cool and creamy and delicious which compliments summer’s steamy temperatures quite perfectly.  Most milkshakes are not the healthiest, and while itz fun to indulge on occasion, I’ve got a perfect solution that you can feel good about anytime.  Even daily.  Itz a healthy strawberry cheesecake protein milkshake.  And itz absolutely amazing.

Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Milkshake Recipe

Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Milkshake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 scoop Designer Whey Luscious Strawberry protein powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • Pure Via vanilla stevia to taste
  • *optional – whipped cream for garnish

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

If you don’t have or don’t want to use protein powder, reduce the amount of milk.

Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Milkshake

The idea for this healthy strawberry cheesecake protein milkshake came when I saw this lightened-up cheesecake dip.  Anything cheesecake is a win in my book.  And if you want to give it an extra little something, go ahead and top it with some whipped cream.

Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Milkshake Recipe

I mean, why wouldn’t you, really?

What’s your favorite flavor of cheesecake?

Cream Cheese Substitute

Food, food, food, food, food! Itz on my mind a lot lately and I feel like I’m a bottomless pit plus my Baby Itz!  Today, I’ll share some of my eats.

Yesterday I treated myself to a Starbucks refresh tea!

starbucks tea

I added some honey in there because I love drinking my tea sweet. And I love honey.  And, yes, I totally took a selfie with my tea.  Then promptly Instagrammed it.  Obviously.

We were on dog duty at my in-laws’ over the weekend while they were soaking up the sun in Florida. They always stock their house full of good food knowing that they’ll most likely come home to an empty fridge and pantry because of the amount Jonny and I both eat. (In fairness, I did bake them a fresh loaf of banana bread to say “sorry” and “thanks!”)  Anyway, they had bagel thins and a bagel and cream cheese totally appealed to me for breakfast one morning.  However, there was no cream cheese in the house and how could I have a bagel with no cream cheese?  So I got creative.

bagel

It looks like cream cheese. It tastes like cream cheese.  It doesn’t really taste like cream cheese.  I put a shmear of plain Chobani greek yogurt on the bagel and then drizzled honey.  Just plain greek yogurt tastes like sour cream (which I substitute all the time!), but adding a little honey sweetens it up a bit.  I topped it with strawberries and it was utterly delicious!  The following day I toasted another bagel thin, shmeared plain Chobani and honey, and added a couple of eggs cooked in coconut oil for a bagel-wich.  I think plain greek yogurt and honey is my new favorite cream cheese substitute! Itz way healthier, that’s for sure, plus you’ve got a little protein punch in there, too!

Linking up to Peas & Crayons What I Ate Wednesday.

Lunch consisted of a concoction I threw together over the weekend.

lunch

It was a hodge-podge of ingredients I had on hand.  I started by sauteing cherry tomatoes and onions just like my grandma does for many sauces and her own creations.  Then, I added black beans, cannellini beans, brown rice, kale, and garlic. That’s it!  When it was all set and done I sprinkled a bit of Parmesan cheese throughout it.  I made a big ol’ batch that I’ve taken for lunch these past couple days and dinner last night. The rice and beans combo makes a complete protein (including all essential amino acids), so itz best to pair the two together.

We had dinner at my sister Stephanie’s the other night. She was asking what she should make, so I sent her to my Pinterest page as there are a couple of recipes I’d been wanting to try.  She chose the Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken.

honey sesame chicken

It was faaaaantastic!  The recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, but she added two tablespoons instead.  My family likes it hot hot hot!  She steamed some broccoli and served it all over brown rice.  Winner winner chicken dinner!  I’ll definitely be making this. Thanks for testing it out and thanks for the tasty dinner, Steph!

Have you made any Pinterest recipes lately? What would you sub for cream cheese?  I imagine something with cottage cheese may work, too.

Cheesy Buffalo Bean Dip Recipe

I’ve got a delicious post for you today! Let’s jump right into it. After all, itz What I Ate Wednesday over at Peas & Crayons, so make sure you pop over there.

Breakfast: Plain Chobani Greek yogurt with Muesli Fusion & peanut butter

chobani muesli fusion

Healthy blend of fats, protein, and carbs! Itz mighty tasty, too!

Lunch: Peppers & celery with cheesy buffalo bean dip & roasted red pepper hummus

veggies

Lots of snacks were eaten before and after, which is why lunch was on the smaller side.  But it sure is pretty, isn’t it? Colorful meals are the best! (And the healthiest!)

Cheesy Buffalo Bean Dip Recipe is below!

Snack: Fiber Love Bars for Wellness Wednesday at school

fiberlove

Wellness Wednesday at school is back which means I find different sponsors to provide healthy on-the-go snacks for our staff. We need to lead by example as we teach the kiddies, and properly fueling our bodies is definitely important. Fiber Love Bars are my favorite fiber bars ever. Not only do they provide 48% of your daily fiber needs, but they come in absolutely AWESOME flavors!  Check it out: Peanut Chocolate Chip, Banana Walnut, Blondie Bar, Blueberry Cobbler, Chocolate Brownie, and Cinnamon Raisin.

Mmm, so good!  Also, they’ve got a Fiber Love Club that you can sign up for free to receive 30% off regular priced bars and free shipping.  Fiber Love bars are also kosher and Non-GMO Project verified. All Fiber Love bars – except Blondie, which contains whole milk powder – are also vegan.

Dinner: cheese tortellini with peas and Parmesan cheese

tortellini peas

The tortellini came from Trader Joe’s and I feel like peas and parm compliment tortellini so well.  There were about fifty-five bowls of this eaten last night. 😉

And now for that recipe….

The Superbowl may have passed, but our love for dips certainly has not!  This cheesy buffalo bean dip recipe is sure to please – itz packed with protein, flavor, and spice!

Cheesy Buffalo Bean Dip Recipe

cheesy buffalo bean dip

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package (4 oz.) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 can (16 oz) refried beans
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese mix

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in small pot.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat, pour in serving dish, garnish with additional chili powder.
  4. Serve hot and enjoy!

Itz so easy to make!  (Those are always the best recipes.)  And it can be considered lightened up.  I used light cream cheese and Mexican cheese.  (I would not recommend nonfat cream cheese or Mexican cheese.) I used nonfat plain Chobani Greek yogurt, and I suppose low fat or full fat would work just fine, too.  Use more or less chili powder and buffalo sauce depending on your preference of spice.

What would you dip in the cheesy buffalo bean dip? (Face or fingers don’t count!) 😉

chocolate chip cranberry oatmeal

Well hello 2014 and Happy New Year to each and everyone one of YOU! What better way to start the new year than with some delicious food? On Monday I told you that I made The Lean Green Bean’s Fresh Cranberry Sauce, and I have been putting it on everything for the last two days.  And that’s how my chocolate chip cranberry oatmeal was born.

chocolate chip cranberry oatmeal

Make oatmeal as you desire (water, milk, microwave, stove, etc.)  Top with a generous portion of Fresh Cranberry Sauce and sprinkle liberally with chocolate chips.  Optional add-ins include flaxseed or chia seeds. Thank me later.  DEVOUR!

You guys, I was always too intimidated to make my own cranberry sauce.  Heck, I never bought anything besides dried cranberries before.  However, after Lindsay posted her recipe, I knew I had to give it a try because it just seemed so simple.  And you know what? It was! She suggested adding 2/3 – 3/4 cup sugar depending on how sweet you like it, and I definitely measured on the high end because I do love my sweets. While it was the perfect sweetness to add in with oatmeal, next time I’ll probably cut back on the sugar.

And when I say I can’t get enough of it, I’m serious. Check out this awesome snack time / lunch / I’ve made this multiple times during the day and called it different things.

cranberry chobani snack

This is plain Chobani Greek yogurt with a big ol’ scoop of cranberry sauce on top.  I mixed it together and dipped my apple slices in it.  So good.  On Monday, this passed for my lunch since I was home most of the day, and when that happens I snack all.the.time.  So my “meals” tend to be on the smaller side since I’ve eaten just a short time before and most likely will eat a short time after, as well.

Not to mention the white cheddar Cheez-Its and frosted sugar cookies I consumed at my sister’s house.  Anyway…

Let’s give a shout-out to Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

It has been downright chilly in St. Louis lately.  That’s par for the course, ya know bein’ winter and all, but I was totally in the mood for some warm comfort food.  Ain’t never too old for some grilled cheese and tomato soup!

grilled cheese tomato soup

However, I’d like to think of this as the adult version of the childhood favorite.  The creamy tomato soup is from Trader Joe’s (the best!), and I toasted bread with Swiss cheese, sautéed onions and mushrooms, and steamed spinach for the ultimate grilled cheese.

Have you ever made your own cranberry sauce? What else should I put it on?  What do you put on your grilled cheese as an adult?

Really Good Dinner Sandwich

Really Good Dinner Sandwich <– riveting title, eh?  Ha!  Today is Wednesday so that means itz WIAW over at the lovely lady Jenn’s Peas & Crayons blog.  Let’s get right to it!

Breakfast:  Raspberry Kefir Protein Smoothie

kefir smoothie

Influenster sent me a coupon to try any Lifeway Kefir product.  I went with the probiotic cultured milk smoothie in the raspberry flavor.  I’ve never had kefir before, but itz good.  Real good.  Imagine the thickest smoothie ever.  Now imagine yogurt that is drinkable.  There is tang and itz creamy and itz awesome.  I really like it if you couldn’t tell.  I combined a cup of it with frozen raspberries, flaxseed, and Designer Whey vanilla protein powder to make an outstanding smoothie.  Itz packed with probiotics in order to support digestive health and immunity.  Lifeway Kefir has a whole line of products.  I’ve only tried this raspberry kefir and itz delish!  Two thumbs up from me.

Lunch: Qdoba Bowl and McAlister’s Salad & Spud

lunch

Yeah… I went out to lunch two days in a row.  That usually happens NEVER, but I was in a workshop for school both days, and the highlight is being allowed to leave for lunch.  We went to Qdoba on Monday and I rolled with a naked burrito with chicken, no rice, double beans (black and pinto), veggies, corn salsa, and a little cheese.  Tuesday’s lunch happened at McAlister’s and itz been awhile since I’ve eaten there!  They have a “pick two” option, so I ordered a chopped salad and a veggie spud.

Snacks:   The Simply Bar and Chobani Flip

simply bar & chobani

I had The Simply Bar leftover from my Blend swag and this was a great snack to take to my workshop.  I do like that itz loaded with protein (10 grams), just 3 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of fiber.  Those are good stats for a snack bar.  Chobani sent me a bunch of their Flips and they are flippin’ delicious!  (See what I did there?  Ha!)  Seriously amazing.  I haven’t had a flavor I don’t like.  This Raspberry Choco Fix reminds me of ice cream from a local spot in St. Louis – Silkies.  It tastes like frozen custard with raspberries and hard chocolate mixed in.  Ridiculous.  Another one of my favorite Flip flavors is Almond Coco Loco.  Mmm.  Itz hard not to moan and groan while you eat them.  They’re that good.

Dinner: Really Good Dinner Sandwich

really good dinner sandwich

Sorry for not being more creative with the name, but “Really Good Dinner Sandwich” is the best way to describe it.  Really.  And sorry I’m not really sorry.  Here’s the deal: toast two pieces of bread.  Spread one wedge of The Laughing Cow Swiss cheese on one piece.  On the other piece, spread spicy guacamole.  Next, load up on spinach, cucumbers, homegrown tomatoes, and a piece or two of turkey bacon.  Cut that beast in half and there ya have a really good dinner sandwich!

What’s your favorite place to go out to lunch?  Mine is First Watch. What would you put in your really good dinner sandwich?  Best flavor of Chobani?

Muesli Fusion Breakfast Cookies Recipe

Itz the Muesli Fusion Breakfast Cookies recipe today, friends!  I’ve been Instagramming pictures the last couple days, and today is the magical day I’ll share the recipe!

Muesli Fusion Breakfast Cookies

Muesli Fusion Breakfast Cookies Recipe

~makes 12 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1.5 cups Muesli Fusion
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

  1. Beat eggs and mash banana.
  2. Combine all ingredients and stir well.
  3. Drop dough on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Muesli Fusion cookie

Seriously, itz the easiest cookie recipe EVER and itz totally loaded with good-for-you nutrients!  I first learned about Muesli Fusion when I was at Blend Retreat.  They were one of our great sponsors and hosted a delicious breakfast where I ate their muesli.

These cookies are not sweet, dessert cookies as there’s NO added sugar in them (that’s a PERK, friends!).  So if you’re expecting sweet cookies, these won’t be them which is another reason why they make the perfect breakfast cookie.  However, if you need some sweetness, I’d add a tablespoon or so of honey.  Only if you NEED to… The banana in there does make them very moist which is AWESOME in cookies!

Muesli Fusion comes in a variety of flavors.  (Check them out HERE.)

At Muesli Fusion we make the best muesli by finding the perfect balance of nutrition and taste. We use just enough gently dehydrated fruits so it tastes great but isn’t loaded with sugar, plenty of nuts and seeds to add crunch without too much fat, and carefully selected thick rolled grains that hold up well when soaked.

At Blend, I received a bag of their Super Muesli which is what I used in the cookies.

super-muesli

Super Muesli contains oats + quinoa, almonds, chia seeds, cranberries, hemp seeds, and coconut.  There are NO added sugars and itz packed with tons of good ingredients.  I love this muesli because usually when I make cookies, oatmeal, breads, anything really, I add a ton of seeds, nuts, berries, etc.  Muesli Fusion has all that goodness in one bag!

Today, I’m linking up my recipes to the WIAW party at Peas and Crayons!

I’ve had a lot of fun using Muesli Fusion at home.  Letting it soak in milk is an easy way to get numerous nutrients in the morning or as a snack, but I also created a Muesli Fusion Summertime Parfait.

Muesli Fusion Summertime Parfait

All you have to do is layer your favorite yogurt, fruit, and Muesli Fusion!  I used Chobani honey greek yogurt, blueberries, Super Muesli, Chobani strawberry greek yogurt, strawberries, more plain greek yogurt, and topped it with more muesli and berries.

Itz tasty, itz healthy, and itz pretty!

Muesli Fusion Parfait

What would YOU do with Muesli Fusion?

I’m entering a recipe contest for Muesli Fusion and would LOVE you to repin these recipes!  Click the links below to repin.  Please, please, please, and thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂 🙂

Food at Blend Retreat

Food at Blend Retreat – riveting title, I know! 😉  There was tons of tasty food at Blend, so it most definitely deserves itz own post.  Plus, I’m linking up to Jenn’s WIAW party at Peas and Crayons, so it all works out!  I’ll go through day by day and give you the highlights.  I was introduced to many new brands this weekend (as well as kindled my love for some oldies but goodies!) so be sure to check them out!

Friday Blend Food:

I arrived too late to make it to the snack break sponsored by Attune Foods with Justin’s Nut Butter, but I can only image how delicious that was.  I did, however, make it in time for Silk’s Cocktail Hour.  Annette and I both sipped on Strawberry Mint Slushes made with unsweetened Silk almond milk, strawberries, mint leaves, agave, lime juice, and tequila (optional).

annette silk drink

They weren’t overly sweet like some frozen drinks.  In fact, these would be a refreshing summertime drink!  There were also tasty appetizers – fresh vegetables with a couple different sauces for dipping, summer rolls, and black bean burgers (totally my favorite, but somehow I managed to miss a picture of them – too busy scarfing, probably).

Silk Cocktail Hour

Aren’t the mason jars with veggies cute?  I like that idea.  Next, we headed to the Escala Ballroom for a four-course dinner buffet.  I’m sure you’re thinking, “Ugh, a buffet?”  No, no.  This was not a normal buffet.  This was a gourmet buffet with totally healthy and different options.  Obviously I had to try a bit of it all…

Blend dinner

On my plate: salad, roasted veggies, wheatberry salad, halibut, and a quinoa cake (my fav).  I also had a bowl of carrot ginger soup.  I expected it to be cold, but it was served warm and was really good.  The ginger was not overpowering at all and I enjoyed the soup more than I thought I would!  We had three options for dessert, but the best was the panna cotta made with Chobani.

chobani panna cotta

Am I the only one who has never heard of panna cotta before?  Well, whatever it was, it was delicious!  It was creamy and decadent and wonderful!  Oh, I also had a couple bites of the apple crisp!

Saturday Blend Food:

We had a breakfast sponsored by Muesli Fusion and The Laughing Cow.  Muesli Fusion was a new-to-me brand and the website describes muesli as a ready-to-eat cereal consisting of a base of oats and whole grains mixed with variety of ingredients including nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and sweets.

Muesli Fusion has several flavors and even gave us a bag in our swag to take home!  I added Silk almond milk to mine and thought it was great; I can definitely see myself eating this for breakfasts at home.  Itz super easy to make (add milk or yogurt), itz loaded with nutrients, and it tastes good! They don’t add sugar to it besides the natural sugar in fruit.

I’ve had Laughing Cow cheese wedges before, but had never tried their new cream cheese spreads.  The individual wedges are perfect for portion control.  I tried Strawberries & Cream and Cinnamon Cream.  The strawberry one tasted like strawberry cream cheese (because that’s what it was) and the cinnamon cream one made my bagel taste like a cinnamon bun – delish!

Blend Breakfast

There was a representative passing out mini bottles of BluePrint Cleanse green juice.  Their green juice contains kale, apple, ginger, romaine, spinach, cucumber, celery, parsley, and lemon.  A lot of girls thought it tasted way too “green” for them, but I do like the taste of greens, so I enjoyed it.  Later, we tried samples of the rest of their juices and they were fabulous.  Here are the other flavors:

  • Pineapple Apple Mint: pretty sweet
  • Beet Apple Carrot Lemon Ginger: very beet-ish
  • Lemon Cayenne Agave: packs a kick!
  • Cashew Vanilla Cinnamon Agave: creamy goodness
  • Lime Ginger Lemon Agave: tastes like lemonade

Two thumbs up, BluePrint – I like your juice!

Lunch and dinner on Saturday were on our own.  There was lots of munching going on throughout the day between Chobani and digging into our swag, so we never officially sat down to eat lunch exactly.  By the time dinner rolled around, we were definitely ready!  Annette recommended we try Cafe Rio as itz a favorite of hers.  Annette, Meg, Sara, and I all ordered salads that were seriously massive.

cafe rio

It was served in a whole wheat tortilla and stuffed with lettuce, black beans, chicken, tomatoes, cheese, and guacamole.  I wish there was a Cafe Rio in St. Louis!

Naturally, we had to go out for ice cream on Saturday night.  We went to Java Cow and I ordered a scoop of Dulce de Leche and Purple Cow (blackberry ice cream with dark and white chocolate pieces).  Darn cow tried to sneak a bite…

java cow

The ice cream was creamy and good, but it doesn’t rank in the top three on my list.  You know I’m a sucker for those cake batter or birthday cake flavors!

Sunday Blend Food:

Sunday’s breakfast was sponsored by Chobani and they put together a wonderful spread.  There was an omelette bar with a sauce using plain Chobani.  There were the new Chobani Flips & Bites.  There were Chobani smoothies (two flavors: peanut butter and blood orange – both crazy thick and delicious!)  There were Chobani pancakes.  There was Chobani oatmeal.  And there were all the Chobani fixins’!

Chobani Breakfast

Again, I had to sample a bit of it all!  Nobody went hungry (or thirsty!), that’s for sure!  Green Mountain sponsored coffee and tea all weekend and BP Cleanse green juice was available again, as well.  I wish I could have an unlimited supply of it all in my kitchen.  That would be amazing!

You’d think we wouldn’t be hungry after all this food, but when lunchtime rolled around me, Laura, Katie, Christine, and Michelle went to Whole Foods which was on the way to the airport.  Whole Foods is always a solid choice.

Blend at Whole Foods

I put together a nice brown box with lots of variety for lunch.

whole foods lunch

At the airport I snacked on some of Blue Diamond’s new flavored almonds.  They come in strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and toasted coconut.  Lindsay brought tons of sample bags to Blend and I was excited to try them.  The flavors do sound a little strange for almonds, that was my initial thought.  However, after tasting them I was pleasantly surprised!  They’re just mildly sweet and almonds (of course) always make a great, healthy snack.

blue diamond raspberry almonds

I’ll miss having all of that amazing food available to me, but luckily I did come home with a huge bag full of swag from our generous sponsors, so I’ll get to munch on the goodies for a bit longer.  When itz gone, then I’ll cry.  MaybeProbably.  Definitely.

A major thank you goes to all of the awesome sponsors – you all rock!

Which brands have you tried that sponsored Blend?  Any favorites?

Blend Retreat 2013

Wow.  Blend Retreat 2013 was the best time ever!  Seriously.  I’ll recap today (try not to be too jealous) and I have a few other more specific posts lined up for the later part of the week.  Blend Retreat was held in Park City, Utah which is about 30 minutes outside of Salt Lake City.  We stayed at the Hyatt Escala Lodge and it was gorgeous.  The staff was so incredibly kind and helpful (and tolerable… I mean there were 100+ squealing women there all weekend!), and the rooms were comfortable – I could move in.  Oh, and the views?  Well, the suite I stayed in had not one, but two patios.  The view:

Hyatt Escala Lodge

I could wake up to the mountains everyday.  (This picture is a bit misleading as it rained the majority of the trip, but you better believe I snapped this pic during the few moments of sunshine!)  I arrived at the Escala Lodge around 5:30 Friday evening and had about an hour to kiss and hug my blends and get ready for the cocktail party sponsored by Silk.  Following the cocktail party, we had a delicious dinner.  A lot of goofiness ensued.  Here’s a good summary of the evening:

photobooth1

On the left: me, Annette, and Lindsay.  On the right: me, Lauren, Paige, Annette, and Meg.  Oh photobooths, you’re so much fun!  The prettiest picture up close:

photobooth blend

We’re beauties, I know! 😉  Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to attend a GPP Fitness workout.  We had a thirty minute break afterwards before eating a delicious breakfast sponsored by  Muesli Fusion and The Laughing Cow.  Shortly after breakfast we were supposed to hike, but due to the rain some people opted to stay in the hotel and do a zumba class instead.  I would have loved to hike, but going out there in the cold rain and getting muddy didn’t really appeal to me.  Next time, Utah.

Annette taught an awesome booty-shakin’ zumba class and when we were done, I learned the pretty girl next to me was Miss United States 2012!  No joke!  Annette was talking to her and asked what her Instagram name was (because that’s obviously very important during a blogger event!), and she replied ever so casually, “Miss United States 2012.”  Uhhh really?  YES!  Whitney Miller – just as sweet as she is gorgeous!

Miss US 2012

Sidenote: Whitney founded Women Against Mediocrity and attended Blend with the sponsor Onnit.

When zumba finished, we showered (yes, be impressed) and headed out to do some shopping at the outlet malls!  Everyone obviously knows my love of headbands, and I found another great one at the Old Navy outlet.  I also turned Annette and Meg on to my little headband obsession:

Annette Meg headband

Heh heh.  We visited Lululemon afterward and helped Annette make her very first Lulu purchase!  Glad we could be there for you, girl!  What are blends for? 😉  The rest of the day and evening was pretty low key as we ate dinner and went out for ice cream.  Oh, I guess I should mention we did ride a cow…

ride a cow

Riding cows in Utah… who knew?!  We woke early on Sunday to do our second GPP Fitness bootcamp workout before breakfast sponsored by Chobani.  Before we knew it, it was time to pack and get ready for the closing ceremony.  Our sponsors were totally awesome and provided tons of product for giveaway.  I won a $50 gift certificate to Bob’s Red Mill!  All too soon I was at the airport on my way back to St. Louis.  The weekend flew by and I was sad to leave.  While Blend Retreat 2013 may be over, I know there are many friendships just beginning…

Blend Retreat

photo credit Christine at Love Life Surf

Thanks again to Janetha, Lindsay, and Katie who put the entire weekend together.  Blend 2014, here we come…!

What’s the most fun blogger event YOU have attended?  Ever been to Utah?

New Headband + Yummy Food

Look who’s sporting a brand new gorgeous headband!  (Yummy food below.)

me athleta

This girl!  Last night I went to the Athleta launch party in St. Louis as this is their first store in Missouri.  The store was packed and they were on a strict “one in, one out” policy per a fire code.  I ended up waiting about ten minutes before being let in, but munched on some tasty appetizers and a glass of wine that was being served to everyone who was waiting.  Now that’s good customer service!  The headband was the only thing I bought since the dressing room lines were super long, as well.  I was definitely impressed by their clothing selection.  It was functional, the material felt good, and it was totally fashionable.  I’d be comfortable wearing it to the gym and out running errands.  Thumbs up, Athleta!

Now on to the yummy food part of this post.  Itz WIAW over at Peas and Crayons!

Breakfast:  Vanilla Spinach Protein Smoothie made with Vega Sport protein powder.  I won a giveaway from Amanda’s blog Run to the Finish and was sent an awesome Vega package.  This protein knocks my socks off, seriously.  It has some of the best stats I’ve seen in protein powders (per scoop): 130 calories, 6 grams carbs, and 25 grams protein!  Itz loaded, I tell ya!

Vega smoothie

Love the green glow and it tastes good, too!  In the smoothie went one scoop of the vanilla Vega Sport protein powder, ice, banana, maca powder, flaxseed, handfuls of fresh spinach, and vanilla almond milk.  Winner winner!

Lunch:  Hodgepodge crockpot dish served over fresh spinach and topped with plain Chobani greek yogurt.  It seems to be a staple around here, but itz just so darn easy to make!  I literally throw in whatever I have on hand.  This week it was dry white beans, dry black beans, frozen veggie mix, diced onion, leeks, diced tomatoes, celery, cabbage, garlic, red pepper, uncooked brown rice, and chicken broth and let it cook for four hours on low.  Wah-lah!  Lunches all week are made!

lunch

Snack:  Chobani came out with these new “Bite” cups and I’ve been searching the local stores for them.  I finally found one flavor: Fig with Orange Zest and omg itz so good!  It tastes mostly orange, but there are fig bits mixed in to sweeten the cup.

chobani

Now if only I can get my hands on the new Chobani Flips – still can’t find those!

Dinner:  Jonny and I went to a Thai restaurant (Thai Kitchen) on Monday evening as we had a Groupon that needed to be used.  We were the only ones in the restaurant at first… not generally a good sign, especially in combination with a Groupon.  I ordered the “Ginger” dish with stir-fried garlic, onions, mushrooms, carrots, shredded baby ginger, and zucchini.  White rice on the side.

thai dinner

The verdict?  It was very gingery, kind of overpoweringly so.  Jonny liked his dish, but I don’t think we’ll be running back there any time soon.

Snack/Dessert:  LÄRABAR sent me a few of their new ALT bars.  ALT signifies Alternative Protein Bar.  Itz the first-ever bar with added protein from LÄRABAR! Many bar brands use soy or whey protein, but ALT uses an alternative protein source: peas. Vegan, gluten-free, dairy free, and non-GMO.  Pretty cool, right?

larabar alt

This was AMAZING!  Dense, moist, chewy, absolutely delicious.  In addition to the Cinnamon Apple Crisp, there is also Lemon Pound Cake, Peanut Butter Cookie, and Pumpkin Pie, all of which I’m sure are ridiculously delicious.  I’ll be purchasing these on my own, for sure.

Have you tried the new ALT bars?  How about the Chobani Bites or Flips?