Shakeology 3 Ways

So the high today in St. Louis is 9.  NINE!  That’s the high.  That’s crazy cold, if you ask me.  And the wind chill is obviously much colder.  Brr.  I want my summer back, I want the sun, I want warm temperatures, and I want to sweat.  But that’s neither here nor there since we can’t control the weather or Mother Nature.  Hope everyone is bundled up!

Anyway, the purpose of today’s post is to tell you about Shakeology 3 Ways.  My friend (and momma to adorable twin boys!) Sarah from the blog Creating a Better Tomorrow  so kindly sent me samples of Shakeology. I was excited as she constantly raves about them and creates the most delicious sounding shakes.  She also included recipes for an entire month for four different flavors… that’s 120 combinations of shakes!  I had a hard time choosing what I wanted to make, but am definitely happy with what I chose.

Maple Pecan Protein Shake

maple pecan shakeology

Maple Pecan Protein Shake: vanilla Shakeology, milk, pecans, cashews, and maple syrup

Vanilla is notoriously my favorite flavor of protein powder thanks to its versatility.  I’m a sucker for maple flavored foods (particularly maple almond butter – mmm!), yet I don’t think I’d ever added it to a shake before.  It was awesome and the perfect amount of sweetness!

How Shakeology works

  • Ingredients derived from whole-food sources deliver the daily vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs to curb cravings, allowing it to shed stored fat.
  • More than 20 different antioxidants and phytonutrients help reduce free radical damage that can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and stroke.
  • Fiber, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes help your body gently eliminate toxins more efficiently and promote better absorption of nutrients.

Strawberry Walnut & Oats

strawberry walnut & oats shakeology

Strawberry Walnut & Oats: strawberry Shakeology, walnuts, milk, and oats

Didn’t my picture turn out pretty? 🙂  I have no problem adding oats to my smoothies; they’re a great source of complex carbohydrates that give me energy for the day!

What’s in Shakeology?

  • Protein and essential amino acids help build muscles and reduce food cravings.
  • Prebiotics and digestive enzymes aid in improving digestion, regularity, and nutrient absorption.
  • Antioxidants and phytonutrients help counteract free radical damage that can lead to degenerative diseases.
  • A daily dose of vitamins and minerals provides your body what it needs to function for optimal health.

Banana Honeymoon

banana honeymoon shakeology

Banana Honeymoon – chocolate Shakelogy, milk, banana, and peanut butter

(Inspirational mug from The Universe Knows

Chocolate, banana, and peanut butter is such a classic combination, and this shake definitely didn’t disappoint.  Can’t ever go wrong with that combo!

The thing that struck me most about Shakeology is how THICK the shakes were!  The recipes suggested that they would be thicker if you used more ice.  My ice maker is broken and I don’t have room in my freezer for ice cube trays (thank you, breast milk!), so I added no milk, and I couldn’t believe how thick these shakes were!  They could easily be turned into bowls and eaten with spoons if that’s more your thing.

All in all, I give Shakeology two thumbs up! It tasted good, it kept me full, it blended well, and the consistency was awesome! If you’d like to learn more or try some of your own, CLICK HERE.

I drank the Shakeology protein shakes for my breaktfasts, so for the rest of today’s What I Ate Wednesday, I’m going to highlight a favorite lunch and dinner as of recently.

Cincinnati Chili

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

I’ve posted this a million times before, but Courtney’s Light N Easy Cincinnati Chili is the most amazing chili ever.  I add beans, corn, and brown rice or quinoa to it, just to bulk it up even more, but it’s seriously delicious.  And the secret ingredients of cinnamon and cocoa totally make it.  I’ve been making a huge batch on the weekend and then eating it every day for lunch on top of either spaghetti squash or a bed of greens.  Topped with cheese, avocado, and plain Greek yogurt is the best.

My dad has been quite the chef lately, and when he takes over the kitchen, you definitely want to be a recipient of his feast!  Check out our last Sunday dinner:

Baba Ganoush

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

My dad follows the recipe from YaYa’s Eurocafe Baba Ganoush.  It makes a ton, so we were all sent home with leftovers which is fantastic.  I could literally eat it with a spoon, but we devoured it with a loaf of bread.  Awesome starter!

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

This recipe is from Martha Stewart, and is very flavorful.  Potatoes and Brussel sprouts complimented the chicken with artichokes and angel hair pasta perfectly.  We kept saying, “Mmm!” all throughout dinner, and just looking at that picture makes me drool all over again.  Yum.

So if you need any recipe inspiration, definitely check out the links I posted in today’s blog.  Or head on over to Peas and Crayons for hundreds (literally) more blog posts full of mouth watering meals!

Are you a vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate protein shake fan?

Snack SMART With A Detour SMART Bar

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Detour Bar.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I’m trying to find balance in my life these days as a new working momma.  One thing that I’ve got the hang of is healthy snacking, and a big thanks to Detour Bar for that.  I’ve been loving on Detour SMART bars for awhile now, and they’ve come in handy, especially this summer as I’ve gone back to school (work).  They’re the perfect size to fill me up, curb my hunger, and provide the energy I need for a busy day.

detour pump

Snacking SMART while pumping at school.

Detour SMART bars really are smart.  (Haha, no, but for real.)  They’re perfect for summer because they’re not chocolate.  Hear me out.  I love chocolate.  However, I feel like heavy, melted chocolate protein bars in the summer just aren’t that awesome, not to mention they make a mess.  SMART bars are everything you want in a healthy snack bar, and they don’t melt.  I keep all my bags stocked: my pumping bag, my diaper bag, and my purse.  That way, when crazy hunger strikes, I have my emergency snack no matter where I am.  Hanger is never a good thing, people.

One bar contains 130 calories, 3 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, and 10 grams protein.

detour smart bar

A contemporary approach to healthy eating, that’s SMART.

  • Gluten Free: Detour SMART bars are independently certified to confirm they meet strict gluten-free standards.
  • Whey Protein: The right protein to nourish and replenish your body, whey is a SMART way to support a lean body and to satisfy hunger.
  • 4 grams of Sugar: Switching to a low-sugar diet may be one of the best things you can do for your body, your appetite, and even your mind.
  • Good Source of Fiber:  The grains and fruit in SMART bars are a balanced source of fiber and a nutritious foundation for maintaining good health.
  • Organic Whole Grain Oats: Wholesome and delicious, whole grains are an essential part of a complete diet.
  • Naturally Sweetened with Stevia: A zero-calorie, natural sweetener, Stevia is a sensible choice for those looking to reduce sugar intake without sacrificing taste.

No artificial preservatives. No artificial flavors. No artificial colors.

Follow Detour Bar on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

detour smart bars

They look like pie.  They taste like pie.  Well, protein bar pie.  No kidding.  When you open the package, there is a strong aroma of either Apple Cinnamon or Blueberry, and itz just delicious.  SMART bars also come in Cranberry Flax and Peanut Butter Chocolate, but my heart is sold on Apple Cinnamon and Blueberry.  So is William’s.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Don’t. Even. Think. About. Touching. My. SMART. Bars. Or. I’ll. Scream!

How do you snack SMART in the summer?  Are you team Apple Cinnamon or Blueberry? (Or Cranberry Flax or Peanut Butter Chocolate? So many SMART choices!)

back to school

This post is sponsored by Pure Protein. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Well… I survived my first day back to school (work).  I’ve been back for a couple days now which means I’ve been without William for a couple days.  Very very very very very sad.  But we’re surviving.  And look how cute William looked on his first day of school:

first day of school

Stud.  I made sure to get lots of snuggles when I picked him up, and all evening long.

I know he’s in a good place with loving people; itz just hard to leave him.  And I hate pumping at work.  Hate it.  I’m so busy trying to get ready for the new school year, that stopping to pump three times a day is really driving me nuts.  I’ll continue to do it because breastfeeding is important to me, but I don’t like it.

Another change I’m getting used to is not being able to graze all day.  When I was home all summer, I was a total grazer, snacking here and there all day long.  My hunger is still out of control since I’m breastfeeding, so grazing works well for me.  Being back at school, I don’t have the time I’m used to, so I need to be smart about packing snacks I can eat quickly.  One particular snack I’ve been loving are Pure Protein Bars.

pure protein bars

Power Your Purpose

Pure Protein® makes it easy to fuel your inner athlete with the perfect combination of high protein and great taste! Pure Protein® bars are an excellent choice for pre and post workouts or any time of day for a protein boost. Our high quality protein bars were made to:

  • Help Maintain Overall Health
  • Support Lean Muscle and Strength
  • Help Fuel Your Body

Our goal is to provide you with convenient and delicious protein products, giving you the strength to achieve your goals!

The bars really satiate my hunger, as well as my sweet tooth as they have pretty rockin’ flavors.  I’m using the bars to fuel my body while at school, but I’ve been sharing the love, too.  My brother Jason, a workout fiend, loves the chocolate salted caramel.  Not only does he eat the bars pre and post workout, he enjoys them as desserts, too!  My friend Diana’s favorite flavor is peanut butter, and my grandma’s is dark chocolate coconut.  Obviously everyone has different tastes, but we all agree on one thing: they taste great!  My favorite is probably the coconut!

pure protein bars1

Pure Protein also has different flavors including Greek Yogurt Strawberry (I want to try this one!), Chewy Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Deluxe, Chocolate Peanut Caramel (another tasty sounding flavor!), and Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch.  Lots of good options!

St. Louis friends, I have a wonderful back to school event for you!  Megan & Erin have teamed up with DSW in St. Peters (St. Louis area) to host a back-to-school event and shoe drive to collect new & gently-used shoes for a local charity on Saturday August, 16th from 10am to Noon.  The first 50 attendees get a bonus gift card, plus there will be giveaways, crafts, story time, a dress-up photo booth and more to celebrate the addition of a kids department (baby on up!) at DSW!  Please RSVP here and bring the whole family!

dsw

Sounds like the perfect opportunity to get William some sweet new kicks!  And baby shoes are possibly some of the cutest things ever!

Speaking of the cutest things ever… check out my happy little dude:

william 4 months

photo by Stephanie Cotta Photography

He gets those muscular arms from eating Pure Protein bars.  Obviously.

Are you getting ready to go back to school?

Core Power Fit Kit

Hi and happy Monday to you!  This is my first real week back to work since last week was the St. Louis Snowpocalypose and work was cancelled four out of the five days.  What better way to start a long week than with a giveaway?  Oh yes, itz here, friends, all courtesy of Core Power.  One lucky winner will receive a Core Power Fit Kit which is AWESOME as I received one myself.  Check out all the goods:

Core Power Duffle Bag & Yoga Mat

core power bag

Core Power Duffle Bag: This is my favorite thing of the kit!  Itz HUGE!  Jonny packed in it this past week and was surprised at how spacious it is.  Plus, it has a ventilated side pocket which fits shoes.  Major perk of a gym bag!  I love how there is a slip at the top to carry a yoga mat.  The bag is bigger than I would normally take to the gym, but this is ideal for traveling and taking a yoga mat.  It also comes with an adjustable shoulder strap.

Yoga Mat: This appears to be of good quality and I like that it comes in a netted bag.  It makes for super easy carrying while simultaneously allowing the mat to air out after those sweaty yoga sessions!

Core Power and itz Fit Kit are both marvelous as is this giveaway which is precisely why I’m linking up to Healthy Diva’s Marvelous in my Monday today!

Core Power Towel, CamelBak Water Bottle, & Exercise Ball

core power

Core Power Towel: This towel is long and thin which I first thought was an odd shape, but later discovered it would be perfect to drape around your neck while working out!

CamelBak Water Bottle: CamelBak is a fantastic brand, as I’m sure many of you know.  Some cool features of this water bottle include the spill-proof jet value which is always open while also always shut, itz BPA-free, and it keeps water cooler two times longer than standard bottles.

Exercise Ball: Can’t ever have enough of these! I have one at work and one at home, and this set comes with a manual pump, too.

Core Power Protein Shakes

core power shakes

Core Power Protein Shakes: The chocolate was the “light” version which has significantly fewer calories and sugar, but is still packed a great protein punch (150 calories, 11 grams sugar, 3 grams fiber, and 20 grams protein).  Strawberry Banana is also available in “light” with similar nutritional content; I haven’t tasted it, but would like to.  The regular Banana (new flavor!) and Strawberry both have about 240 calories, 26 grams sugar, and 26 grams protein.  Both a bit high in sugar, in my opinion, and unfortunately no fiber, but the protein is still high and of good quality.

Milk is one of the best sources of protein, helping to build lean muscle and recharge the body when consumed directly after physical activity. Core Power is the real-milk based sports recovery drink and contains natural whey and casein proteins found in milk – never removed from their original liquid state. The brand features simple ingredients and great taste, without a chalky texture. You can also check out the website for recipes!
 
Now available nationally, Core Power was recently named the “Official Protein Drink of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.”

poweryourrecovery

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this blog post telling me how you will #powerYOURrecovery with Core Power (mandatory for entry).  Other additional, optional entries include the following:

  • On Twitter, follow Itz Linz and Core Power and tweet the message, “I want to win a @CorePower Fit-Kit from @ItzLinz! Itz the Official Protein Drink of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games! http://wp.me/p2WMfo-28W “
  • Follow Itz Linz and Core Power on Instagram.

Be sure to leave a separate comment for each additional entry (three total entries possible).  U.S. entries only!  This giveaway will be open until Thursday, January 16th, 2014 at 8:00 pm CST.  The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, January 17th and will have forty-eight hours to contact me or another winner will be chosen.  THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Congratulations to #81 Kerby who plans on using Core Power’s Fit Kit to train for her third half marathon! Email me so we can get you all set up! 🙂

Whole Grain Oatmeal Protein Bars

Thanks so much for all of your kind words on my post yesterday regarding body image and pregnancy.  You’re really wonderful, you know that?  Today let’s talk about something else wonderful: FOOD!  I’ll show ya a day of my eats.  Well, not every little nibble because that happens way too frequently now, but I’ll show ya the big meals of the day.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with banana slices, cinnamon, and peanut butter

oatmeal

Doesn’t that lump of peanut butter look funny?  Someone on Instagram said it looked like a fish coming out of water and one of my coworkers said it looked like a fortune cookie – haha!  I had planned on making eggs for breakfast because it had been awhile, but I was in the mood for something way more carby.  Oatmeal with my favorite toppings it was!

Linking up with Peas & Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday.

Lunch: Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Macaroni & Cheese and steamed broccoli

lunch

I’d never bought the pre-made frozen mac and cheese from Trader Joe’s before, and it was a good impulse buy and last minute lunch!  What I liked most was that it was not just a measly portion as you can tell from the picture.  It was a good size and filled me up.

Snack: Detour Smart Whole Grain Oatmeal Protein Bars

detour smart bars

Big fan here of these bars.  Sometimes I feel like all protein bars are chocolate; does anyone else feel like that?  I’m all for chocolate, but sometimes I don’t want anything quite as sweet.  So when Detour emailed me asking if I’d like to try their new bars, I was all over it.  Some quick facts about the bars:

  • Gluten-free
  • 130 calories
  • 3 grams fiber
  • 4 grams sugar
  • 10 grams protein
  • Topped with a Greek style yogurt drizzle

They make a great snack, especially on the go.  They’re a good size; not enormous, but definitely satisfying.  I was sent a box each of the Blueberry and Apple Cinnamon flavors, and really truly enjoy them both.  And guess what the new flavor is that just came out?  Cranberry Flax!! Sounds so good!  Well done, as always, Detour!

Dinner: Kitchen sink salad, leftover brisket, rice, & green beans

dinner

Kitchen sink salad because I threw a bunch of random stuff in I had in the fridge.  It included spinach, tomatoes, roasted mushrooms, avocado, pomegranate seeds, and drizzled balsamic vinegar on top.  We had leftover rice from my in-laws’ dinner on Sunday, a piece of brisket from my friend Diana’s parents, and steamed green beans.  We always go to Diana’s parents for their annual Chanukah party, but this year we were unable to go due to other plans.  Her parents were so sweet and had Diana bring over a tupperware full of brisket!  Jonny and I both snacked on pieces here and there and finished it last night!

Dessert/Snack/Handfuls: Chocolate covered raisins

choc covered raisins

When we had friends over a couple of weeks ago, I bought chocolate covered raisins from Trader Joe’s to set out in a candy dish because itz always nice to have candy out.  Well, pretty much every time I walk past, I grab a few.  A few here, a few there, a handful here, a mouthful there.  Those little suckers won’t last much longer!

Do you prefer chocolate, fruit, or other flavors of protein bars?

eat algae for energy

Eat algae for energy!  Are you confused?  Well, let me explain.  I was recently asked to review ENERGYbits.  I first learned about them during the Healthy Living Summit in 2012 and tried a sample.  I took a few tablets before runs and had notably more energy.  Since I was sent another sample, I’ve been taking them here and there and have been doing a lot of reading about them.  I’m excited to share because so much of their research and what they write makes so much sense!

The first point I want to make is that, while ENERGYbits may look like supplements, they’re not.  Supplements are made in labs.  Algae is not.  Algae is a crop that is grown and harvested.  ENERGYbits are 100% organically grown spirulina algae.

energybits

Background information on BITS:

  • Algae is a food that has been used worldwide, most notably in Asia for over fifty years where it is well known as the most nutrient dense food in the world.
  • It has the highest concentration of protein, chlorophyll, beta carotene, antioxidants, and vitamins in the world.
  • Itz long list of health benefits include increased energy, reduced blood pressure, and prevention of colds.
  • Algae was first introduced to Asia/Japan after WWII by the American Government to prevent mass starvation.

NASA  has fed algae to their astronauts for over fifty years and says, “One gram of algae has the nutritional equivalent of 1,000 grams of fruits and vegetables.”  The only difference between dried fruit and dried algae is that algae has 1,000 times more nutrition, 1,000 times more antioxidants, 1,000 times more protein, 1,000 times more chlorophyll, and 99% fewer calories. Each algae tablet contains 1 calorie and itz recommended to swallow (or chew) 30-40 BITS per serving.

Unlike dried fruit, algae contains NO sugar/fructose and NO chemicals.  Here is a great graphic showing that ENERGYbits are the best source of Vitamin B (essential for energy and athletic performance).

B Vitamins chart energybits

ENERGYbits contain 40 vitamins and minerals, essential Fatty Acids like Omega 3, 64% protein (three times more the protein in steak), all the B vitamins, iron, antioxidants, electrolytes, and more.  There is a lot of hype about Omega 3 right now as you can most commonly get it in fish and fish oil.  However, when consuming fish, you are also unfortunately getting some of the contaminants of the ocean.  ENERGYbits contain completely clean Omega 3 without the risk of toxicity.  Pretty cool.

Each week, ENERGYbits hosts Health and Fitness Twitter chats, held Tuesday nights at 8 pm (EST) at #poweredbybits.  They run the chat, but itz not all about them.  Itz about nutrition, wellness, health, and fitness.  Join them by following ENERGYbits.

When purchasing ENERGYbits online, use code “BLOG” to receive 10% off.  What a marvelous deal for everyone!

ENERGYbits would like one of you lucky friends to receive a sample.  Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment telling us which aspect of ENERGYbits is most appealing to you or by describing what you need more energy for (one option is mandatory to enter).  Listed below are other optional additional entries.  Please leave a separate comment for any or all.

This giveaway will be open until Thursday, October 17th, 2013 at 8:00 pm (CST).  Giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, October 18th and will have 48 hours to contact me or another winner will be selected.  CLOSED!

peanut butter and jelly protein balls

Well, my love for peanut butter and jelly strikes again!  You just can’t go wrong with the classic combination.  This time itz because of Designer Whey.  You see, my last package they sent me for a FitFluential campaign included a new-to-me protein flavor: Luscious Strawberry.  While itz delicious in a protein smoothie, itz even better in these peanut butter and jelly protein balls I made!  They’re super easy with just seven ingredients and no baking required.

peanut butter & jelly protein balls

Peanut Butter and Jelly Protein Balls

~makes approximately 18 one-inch balls

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop Designer Whey Luscious Strawberry protein powder
  • 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

Directions:

  1. Melt peanut butter so itz easy to stir.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix.
  3. Form one-inch balls with dough.
  4. Chill for two hours.
  5. Enjoy! Store in airtight container.

designer whey protein balls

Itz so easy!  Seriously, just mix, scoop, and chill.  It honestly tastes like peanut butter and jelly.  I can’t say enough about the strawberry protein powder.  If you need new protein powder in a stellar flavor, you’ve got to get some Designer Whey strawberry.  And if you need 20 Designer Whey recipes, click HERE.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to order online use the code ZDWHEY4 to receive 20% off all Designer Whey online orders.  Itz an affiiliate link from Jody at Truth 2 Being Fit.

What’s your favorite combination for no-bake protein balls?

Neapolitan Protein Snack

Summer is going by WAY.TOO.FAST!  Anyone else?  I have just a couple of weeks before I report back to school for the beginning of teacher workshops.  I’m grateful to have summers off, but they always go by so quickly!  You better believe I’ll be enjoying these next couple weeks.

For now, let’s talk food.  That’s always a fun topic.  Speaking of fun, have you checked out the site Peas and Crayons?  The author, Jenn, is who created the wonderful What I Ate Wednesdays and allows almost 200 bloggers to link up their eats.  If you ever need meal inspiration or recipe ideas, you’ve got to check it out!

Breakfast:  Pumpkin Patch Oatmeal

pumpkin patch oatmeal

I’ve recently begun a new fitness challenge through Fit Women’s Weekly.  There are tons of fabulous recipes including this Pumpkin Patch Oatmeal.  I’ve only done one workout so far and it was tough.  My body can already feel it and this is just the first week!

Lunch:  Garden Veggie Sandwich from The Market at the Cheshire (no picture, sorry)

I had lunch with the lovely Bianca Jade from MizzFit as she was in town for a few days.  My sandwich could have used a boatload more veggies as it was pretty skimpy for a veggie sandwich, but Bianca and I had fabulous conversation.  Bianca is a professional blogger and so knowledgeable about everything from blogging to fitness to fashion!

bianca

Snack:  Neapolitan Protein Snack

detour neapolitan

Detour has come out with lower sugar protein bars and Neapolitan is their newest flavor.  Neapolitan reminds me of my Great Grandma Rose and Grandpa Joe as they always had Neapolitan ice cream.  Not only does the bar taste good, but it brings back sweet memories, as well.  The bar is 170 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 3 grams of sugar.  Itz a dense and filling protein snack.  Detour has three other flavors in their lower sugar protein bars: Caramel Peanut, Peanut Butter Cream, and Chocolate Chip Caramel – all of which sound fabulous!

I first tried Detour bars at Blend Retreat.  I liked them immediately, so when I received an email offering a box for a review on the blog, I was more than willing to accept!  Jonny is also a fan and occasionally eats them for a quick morning breakfast.

Also, Detour is hosting a Summer Photo Contest.  They’re looking for pictures showing off your #SummerDetour aka a new activity you’re doing this summer.  All you have to do is post a picture on Instagram with #SummerDetour @DetourProtein.  Weekly prizes include gear, Detour products, autographed items, game tickets, and more!

Dinner: Sweet Potatoes and Pinto Bean Enchiladas

sweet potato pinto bean enchilada

Not the prettiest picture, but let me assure you that they taste great!  With only five ingredients, they are easy to make.  Great for a meatless meal.  And that’s all, folks!

Are you a fan of Neapolitan?

Happiness

Life isn’t always happy.  In fact, sometimes life is downright hard.  It can be busy, sad, stressful, but it can also be full of joy and happiness.  Happiness is an outlook and I truly believe that happiness is what you make of it.

happiness is what you make of it

So today I’m sharing a few things lately that have been making me happy.  Simple things.  But itz happiness nonetheless.

Happiness is… seeing adorable and enormous baby animals at the zoo.  My class took a field trip to the St. Louis Zoo on Tuesday.  We had gorgeous weather and it seemed like all the animals were out.  Couldn’t resist snapping a photo of this baby elephant.

elephant

Happiness is… old friends.  Annette from Enjoy Your Healthy Life and I have been friends since we were two years old.  Inseparable during our elementary years, really, and itz just seven days before we are reunited at the Blend Retreat!  Annette just announced she is having a girl, so let the pink bows, dresses, and dance shoes begin.  Speaking of dance, Annette is an expert dancer; she’s danced her entire life and even convinced me to do a session with her (if that’s even what they’re called).  Please enjoy this beautiful picture of Annette and me from a dance recital probably fifteen years ago.

annette

Happiness is… receiving an awesome package from Victoria’s Secret!  I ordered four of their Perfect Burnout shirts – two V-Neck Tees and two Tank Tops.  Love the burnout look.  Itz a little sheer which will be sexy for summer!

summer shirts

Happiness is… Zoey!  Come on, did you really think I could do a whole happiness post and not include a picture of my little pooch?  Get real!  The sun is shining and summer is nearing which means Zoey’s summer apparel is surfacing once again.  I love this little red jumper dress.  Rainbows just scream summer!

Zoey

Happiness is… cake batter protein milkshakes.  My cake batter protein is as good as it sounds.  (I order it from iHerb.com – itz Muscle Milk brand – use code VAJ523 to receive a discount on your first order!)  The sprinkles addition is a MUST!

cake batter

What’s making YOU happy?

Key Lime Pie Protein Smoothie

Hi there, friends!  Itz been absolutely gorgeous in St. Louis these past couple of days.  We’re talkin’ blue skies, blazing sun, and temperatures in the 80’s.  Oh yes!  These warmer temps have prompted a smoothie-lovin’ craze in me lately.  (Who am I kidding?  I love smoothies all year round!)  Anyway, I have one today that is just puuurfect for the summer.  In fact, it makes me want to be on a beach somewhere…

Key Lime Pie Smoothie

About a month ago I was doing a product review for GNC’s Total Lean Orange Cream Protein powder.  I quickly became obsessed with making Orange Cream Protein for a nightly dessert.  After running out of the powder, I headed to GNC to pick up more when a new flavor caught my eye: Key Lime.  I snatched up (aka bought) two bags.  I love it!

I listed the general recipe for the smoothie, but of course you can make modifications where you see fit.  I add maca powder and flaxseed for an extra punch of nutrition, and I’m sure it’d be very delicious with almond or dairy milk, as well.  The banana is a must as it adds the creamy component, and the graham cracker crumbs sprinkled on top totally make the “pie” part of the key lime pie protein smoothie.

The dinner I made on Monday night turned into my lunches for the week.  I sautéed an onion while cooking ground turkey meat and added garlic, a frozen veggie mix, roasted salsa from Trader Joe’s, and brown rice.  I served it on top of fresh spinach and plopped a dollop of plain Chobani on top with a little sprinkle of red pepper.

lunch

Simple yet delicious and nutritious – my kind of meal!

Love Grown Foods was kind enough to sponsor my school’s Wellness Wednesday.  They provided us with four bags each of their five granola flavors: Sweet Cranberry Pecan, Raisin Almond Crunch, Cocoa Goodness, Simply Oats, and Apple Walnut Delight.  I’ve been receiving tons of e-mails exclaiming how delicious the granola is, so itz safe to say it was a big hit!  Thanks, Love Grown Foods!

Love Grown Foods

While dinner was in the makin’ last night, I tweeted in excitement.  Then after, I instagrammed in delight.  Jonny was on the grill and I was in the kitchen.  Teamwork.  I bought chipotle burgers from Whole Foods over the weekend because they were on sale.  (Whole Foods has the best weekend sales.)  Jonny said these were possibly the best burgers he’s ever had.  They were enormous and oh so tasty.

dinner

I made kale chips with red pepper and nutritional yeast.  I roast them at 375 for 8 minutes or so.  I also made Goat Cheese & Cranberry Stuffed Mushrooms.  Burgers and mushrooms go so well together, agree?

Are you a key lime fan?  What do you think goes best with burgers?